I live in the South where sports in general and football in particular is god. I wish I were exaggerating, but if you’ve ever visited the South during football season you know I’m not. So, I have to fight the never-ending battle of helping men realize that something has become an idol in their lives. Whether it is a sports team they are a fan of, a sport they play as a hobby, or a sport their children play it all ends up the same way. It becomes all they think about, talk about, and live for. Now, they would say different but their actions don’t line up with what they say most of the time.
I consider myself a fairly athletic guy (at least for a few minutes at a time) and I do like me some football (fantasy team and all). So I’m not throwing off on something that I just don’ like. But, my big question to men and dads is “Do you or your children know more about a sport or sports team than you do the God of the Bible”? This goes for any sport, but where I live college and high school football are the biggest so I always like to boil it all down for them.
In football if you take away the strategies, the over paid coaches, the inflated ticket prices, the bands, the jumbotrons, the music, the crowds, the under-dressed cheerleaders, the expensive equipment, the endless number of commentators, etc., at the end of the day all you have is a bunch of teenage BOYS playing a GAME. It’s nothing more than a glorified version of what we played, when we were young, with the neighborhood kids when someone always got mad and took the good ball home with them leaving the rest of us to play with an old, ratty Nerf ball that the dog had chewed up.
Yet people will take time off of work, take vacation time, get to the game early to tailgate, maybe even spend the night or camp out, spend ridiculous amounts of money and resources, meet with their friends and celebrate for hours when a big game comes up. But when it comes to thinking about, studying about, or even talking about God they “Don’t have enough time”. When it comes to meeting together as a corporate body or leading their family in worshipping a God who has had such great mercy and grace (in Christ) on us sinful, rebellious humans who deserve to spend an eternity in Hell under God’s full wrath and punishment… they find it all a bit too boring.
It’s not wrong to watch, play, or enjoy football or any other sport, but as dads we have to keep things in perspective. Yes, we keep things in perspective in order to guard our own lives from falling into idolatry, but also knowing that statistically our children will worship the things we do.
We were created to worship. And worship we will. The question is what or whom!