Anyone who knows me well at all knows that I’m a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I have Steelers gear in parts of my office and at home – everything from coasters, coffee cups and framed signs. I have a Mean Joe Greene jersey and a couple of terrible towels. One towel in particular has special meaning since it has the phrase “Six-burgh” on it signifying the record six Super Bowls the Steelers have won since the mid-1970s. That towel was a gift from the late Jim Althouse, and former Vertical Radio Morning Show co-host Al Downey (another crazy Steelers fan) gave me the Mean Joe Greene jersey.
Years ago, a Steelers’ loss could ruin my day, or even part of a week. Hey, if they lost a Super Bowl (ah, the pains of that 1996 loss to the Cowboys!) or an AFC championship it could drag on for longer than I would like to admit. Pretty silly? Yes, but that’s sports for us “die-hard” fans. Today, I’m still a huge fan, but those losses don’t hang on nearly as long.
Mike Tomlin is the current Steelers head coach, compiling an overall record of 111 wins and 62 losses since 2007. He led Pittsburgh to the Super Bowl title in 2009, beating the Arizona Cardinals. Tomlin has a saying I have come to appreciate over the years: “The Standard is the Standard.” In other words, the standard of excellence is something the Steelers are always measured by. If they finish a season 10-6 and lose in the playoffs, that’s a winning record but it falls short of the “standard.” The standard is always measured by Super Bowls.
When looking at that phrase “The Standard is the Standard” it can apply to anything that requires excellence. God set the highest standard possible when he sent Jesus to us to show us the way to a right relationship with him. While we were still sinners, He came to us to die for our sins. He loved us that much, and still does to this very day. That standard is impossible to reach on our own, and only possible through faith in our savior Jesus. He leads us to where we need to be.
It may seem trivial to compare God’s amazing love for us to a sports slogan, but it truly applies. The Standard is indeed the Standard. There is but one way to eternal life – no shortcuts, no other “ways.” Jesus said He was, and is, the “way, the truth and the life” and that nobody gets to the Father except through the Son. (John 14:6). The Standard is the Standard.
Jesus was asked in the book of Matthew about the greatest commandment in the Law. His reply was quick and to the point.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
The Standard is the Standard. Some say the Christian faith is confusing and has too many rules. Not true. Everything hangs on two commandments – love God with all you’ve got, and love others as yourself. Anyone who starts there will find everything else falls into place. Love. God is love. He is there for all of us, especially in our darkest days. Light has come into the world and it cannot be put out.
Here at Navajo Ministries our mission is to help instill hope, restoration and Christian values in all we do. Our mission can be seen as the standard that we measure ourselves against. Yes, it’s back to that phrase “The Standard is the Standard.” Our Mission is our Mission. We must live up to it daily. No exceptions.
And, really, it all comes down to looking to our perfect example each and every day – Jesus. He is our Hope and our Restoration. His Values are unwavering and without compromise. We are to love others, forgive others, cherish others and be compassionate to others. Jesus never said just be nice to those who are nice to you. Love everyone at all times.
Sometimes we want to pick and choose those “Christian values” – but the Standard is the Standard. God first loved us, so we should love others. Let’s remember to follow the standard that has been set by Jesus, our perfect leader. We will never be perfect, but we should always follow the perfect one. It is only through His blood that we are washed clean of our sins.
Let’s remember each day and every moment to walk in the light – even when the world can be a very dark place at times. Our personal struggles don’t compare to the glory God has shown us through His son. Let’s live in peace and follow “The Standard” above all others. May it start with us, each moment.