A passion for God...and Sports?
A passion for God AND sports?
This week at Cornerstone we are hosting our yearly Sports Camp. As I stood and watched some of the kids playing last night, I was again reminded of the simple joy of sports. I once heard it aptly put that sports and music are two common languages the world shares. What is it about sports that brings us so much pleasure? Is this a good thing? What does God think about our interest in sports?
Growing up in south Georgia, I didn't have a choice. I had to like sports. That's all there was to do! I grew up at rec fields, and sports pretty much consumed my life as a child. We would play every sport, based on the season. Many of my best memories as a child involve either playing or watching a game. I still vividly remember playing eight or nine baseball games in one day as my team advanced to the championship game of the little league playoffs, only to lose around 10:00 pm. I also have great memories of my Dad suprising me by taking me to Game 7 of the ’91 World Series in Minnesota between the Twins and Braves…again, my team lost! These memories are fun to recall, but how do I think about these experiences with a biblical perspective?
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us to do “everything” for the glory of God. Everything would include sports. So how does that work? Basically, we can either play or watch sports for our OWN glory or for GOD’S glory. When we view sports as a good gift given to us by God for our enjoyment, and allow the gift to point us to the Giver, then we are free to truly enjoy sports in the right way. When we recognize that all athletic ability is given by God, then we are less likely to boast. Unfortunately, because of sin, we often tend to see sports as the ultimate, and we place the glory on athletes instead of the giver of the game. When this happens, we find ourselves in bondage as we watch and play sports. If the game is ultimate to us, we cannot handle it when we play poorly, or a teammate costs us the game, or our favorite team loses again. It drastically affects our day, our week, and the entire sports season. When we fall into this temptation, we will always be disappointed.
However, if we see sports as a gift from God to be enjoyed, and realize it is just a game, we can be passionate about it in a healthy way. We can hit a jump shot to the glory of God. We can shoot an airball to the glory of God. Either way, we can choose to recognize that we, in and of ourselves, are not great. God--the One who gives us the ability to play as well as provides opportunities for us to grow in humility--He is great!
So, as we approach the greatest “season” for sports (football and baseball playoffs!), let us consider how we view sports, and strive this year to glorify God in our playing and watching of games. What a difference this can make in our lives. For all those Gamecock, Tiger, and the blessed Georgia fans out there (Go Dawgs!), let us glorify God as we pull for our teams this fall and learn to truly enjoy sports as God designed them.