Do you struggle with being a God-glorifying sports fan?
We are commanded in Scripture to eat and drink and do everything to the glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31). "Everything" include being a sports fan! I really enjoy sports. I am so often awed by the talents God has given to these athletes. I love the team aspect of sports. I love watching how each individual player fulfills the role specifically given to them on a team. It is intriguing to watch as teams collapse many times when players do not want to fulfill their role. The competition gets my adrenaline flowing as two teams battle out for victory. So many aspects are great about sports. But the hard territory for me is glorifying God when watching a team I love.
I was reminded of this Tuesday night as some family gathered at our house for the Sugar Bowl. It was a house full of Arkansas Razorback fans. We were gathered as a unified fan club for our beloved Hogs. The food was great and the fellowship is always a blast when we gather as family. The game was hard fought and very emotional as the Razorbacks did not show up in the first half and then slowly clawed their way back. Down by five with a minute to go the madness began as the Razorbacks blocked a punt and gained possession at the twenty yard line. Emotions went from thinking we had lost to now believing we were going to win the game. Then...a dropped pass....an interception....game over. It was tough.
As I went to bed that evening I reflected back on the night. I was grateful for many things: Family, food, unity, football, emotions, desire and so much more. But I as my mind went back to the game over and over I had to remind myself as I often do: It doesn't count for eternity! When we put life into its proper perspective it does not necessarily mean we shouldn't care about our team but it does mean we strive, as Christians, to not be consumed by this temporal joys. I know my fear is making a good gift into an idol.
So how do we glorify God while enjoying the gift of watching sports? We must keep our eyes fixed on an eternal perspective. We must remember sports as a gift rather than making it an idol. When the games over and whether we win or lose we must ask, "What does this really matter in the scope of eternity?" Maybe that doesn't make it easier right away but it is truth to feed our souls.
A book I would recommend is Ted Kluck's The Reason for Sports.
Grace upon grace,
PS - Maybe I'll report back on Monday after my Packers have played their first playoff game.