Are you tired of feeling guilty for being a Christian and enjoying sporting events? Here’s five reasons to enjoy the game.
1 Peter 4:9- Use hospitality to one another without grudging.
As Christians in western society we are busy people. When we aren’t working at our professions, cleaning our houses, or taking care of our yards, we do our best to spend quality time with our families. There’s one problem. Our families are pulled in a thousand directions. It’s difficult to get everyone to agree on a venue where you can enjoy quality time. Sporting events, for many families, offer a perfect solution to this dilemma. It’s a time when we can get together as families, or even as the Church body, and enjoy some quality time. We don’t gather to worship a team. We gather because we love each other. This is an enjoyable way to spend time with one another.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
The world is full of bad role models, and you can find most of them at sporting events. This offers an opportunity to contrast what a good role model looks like. Our young people are watching. Once I was at a high school football game with some of my Church family. The opposing team’s defensive coach was in the press box just behind where we were sitting. He got really involved in the game and yelled out a curse word, and at least three people turned around and informed him that his language wasn’t appreciated. If those Christian people hadn’t been there the children may have come to the conclusion that it was an acceptable way to act. Sporting events give Christians another opportunity to be examples of how to act when things don’t go our way; when we disagree with someone; or when someone is acting in an ungodly manner.
Matthew 7:12- Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
At the Washington County football game I was at a young man was injured and had to leave by ambulance. Both teams took a knee for the entire time that he was being treated. When he was being carried off the crowd for both teams stood up and applauded to show their concern. In a world of violent video games, movies, and internet videos, it’s important for our kids to know that there’s an appropriate way to react when someone is injured. It’s not to laugh at or mock them. Even if their on another team. Christians should be genuinely compassionate people, and when Christians are watching sporting events they’re able to pray for, and show compassion towards, those who are injured. Some would say that injuries are a reason to not watch or participate in sporting events. It’s good you’ve got a desire to protect everyone, but there’s risk in every aspect of life. Paul used sporting events in his analogies in scripture. There’s no reason for us to think sporting events are wrong in and of themselves.
Ephesians 5:15- Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Christians should use every possible advantage to share the gospel with the lost. By participating in, and watching various sports doors are opened that otherwise may not be. You can strike up a conversation, and build trust with someone quickly, just because of the shirt or ball cap that you’re wearing. If you know a little about their favorite team then they’re likely to involve themselves in a conversation with you. That can open the door for a conversation about the Lord. Sporting events are also a great time to invite friends and family, who may be lost, to join you and watch the game. It’s a time when people let their guard down, and a great time for you to bring up your morning devotion, your testimony, an answered prayer, a Church event, or a hundred other things that could steer the conversation towards Jesus. Why do you think God created halftime?
Romans 5:4-5- 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans chapter 5, in context, is speaking about tribulation, and I in no way want to compare your team losing to any sort of tribulation. If you feel like it’s tribulation you may need an intervention! Patience brings forth experience, and experience brings forth hope. In the United States we are blessed, or cursed, depending on who you ask, that we’ve not been suffering through true persecution and tribulations. Does this mean that we do not need to grow in patients, experience, and hope? Certainly not! If we recognize we’re to love God supremely, and love our neighbor as ourselves, then sporting events are a way to practice patients and hope. They help teach us we’ve got to crucify our flesh, and not put our hope in worldly things. Our team will not win every time. Someone will treat us poorly, because they place more value in a game than in their relationship with people. Tempers will flare, disappointments will come, and as Christians we can thank God for the opportunity to love unconditionally. Our flesh will lie to us. Our flesh will try to convince us that our peace is determined by worldly circumstances. As we react in an appropriate manner we are training ourselves to recognize when we are being deceived, and respond accordingly.
Enjoy the game, and praise God for the opportunity!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
What are some other ways sporting events can be God honoring?