“You are to have no other gods besides me.” (Exodus 20:3)
On a Sunday in early February just after dinner in the evening, millions of people are glued to their television sets or personal computers. The Super Bowl is the championship game of the two best American football teams after months and months of weekly games. Football is arguably the most popular sport in this country.
For the Christ-follower who enjoys any athletics, whether as an observer or as a participant, there are several dynamics of which to be aware:
First, like all things, God tells us to do everything for him. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) All that we do, including involvement in sports, is to be done for him — not for ourselves or for anyone else.
Second, God has created things in this world for our pleasure. 1 Timothy 6:17 says in part that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” The Bible also provides us direction on those areas of life that are not beneficial to us. However, most of life God has provided so we can enjoy the work of his hands. Involvement in athletics may be one of those activities.
Third, God instructs us to not put anything before him. “You are to have no other gods besides me.” (Exodus 20:3) A sports fan may be at one of several different levels. “Fan” comes from the word “fanatic”. According to the dictionary, “fanatic” is defined as “a person with an extreme…enthusiasm or zeal; unbalanced or obsessive behavior.” Those of us who enjoy sports, but are not collegiate or professional athletes, can certainly cross the line. Without realizing it, we may place one of these men or women in the category of a god through our fanatical admiration.
Therefore, should we stay away from sports? Athletics provides a strategic opportunity for the person who seriously follows Christ. Whether it is peewee football or at the peak of athleticism for a sport, every participant and observer can “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus”, enjoy what God has created, and use sports like everything else in life to lead people to the Savior.
One such example is the Super Bowl Breakfast, an NFL-sanctioned event, sponsored by Athletes in Action (AIA), headquartered in Xenia. Every year AIA hosts this outreach in the city of the Super Bowl. I had the privilege of attending the breakfast in Jacksonville, Florida in 2005. Truly this is an event where sport submits to the One who created it. The gospel of Christ is shared and people who attend come to faith in him, resulting in life change. Go to www.superbowlbreakfast.com for more information on this event and other ministries through AIA.
How are you handling sports or other areas of life? Are you submitting them to your Master and Owner God? Are you enjoying them in their proper context? Bring it under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and become a true “fan” for the Master!
William “Carey” Northington leads One Master Ministries, a ministry to help people be faithful to God, especially through faithful financial decision-making. You can contact him at www.onemaster.org.