It’s finally here, the most wonderful time of year. No, not Christmas - Football! Yet, as I prepare to watch Alabama defend its national title (which I’m sure they will do), I have a nagging thought in the back of my head. Why do I care? Why am I emotionally invested in the outcome of these games? Why am I crushed when they lose and exultant when they win? Why do I spend hours each week watching a game, the outcome of which has absolutely no effect on my life? There’s nothing wrong with watching and enjoying sports. In fact, the apostle Paul used sports analogies more than once to make his point. And yet, I look around and see churches all over this country half or only a quarter full while 100,000 seat football stadiums with inflated ticket prices are overflowing with those who profess to be Christians. Could this be a case of misplaced passion? Do we as Christians get as excited about our redemption in Christ as we do about a touchdown? Do we feel a sense of loss for those without Jesus the same way we do when a game winning pass falls incomplete? Are we incensed over the disrespect shown to our Lord the same way we are when a ref misses a call?
It’s true that Paul used sports analogies to make a point, but his point was commitment to Christ. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27). His point was that we should show the same commitment, the same discipline, the same passion for Christ that an elite athlete has for their sport. What would our church look like if we were committed to serving an hour in the church for every hour we spend watching football (or basketball, baseball, ...)? Or if we were committed to spending an hour in prayer for every hour we spend watching (or playing) the big game? I believe the day is coming, as our world grows more hostile toward Christ, when Christians will be forced to acknowledge that sports just aren’t that important. After all, there won’t be any national championship trophies in heaven. But why wait for that day? Today, let our passion be for the One who gave His life and defeated death so that we could have life eternal.
Adam Davis, Senior Pastor FBC Archer City, TX