Let me say right off the top that I am a football fan – have been ever since my grandmother and I used to watch games together when I was two. We used to bet on the games… a nickel for every game our team played, and a dollar for the Superbowl. We had season tickets to our NFL team when I was an adolescent. I have played Fantasy Football with my old church for the past four years. I know and love the game….but, hopefully my affection for football stays at the “fan” level and doesn’t cross into “follower” or “fanatic”!
It’s playoff season for the NFL, and the bowl games just culminated with Alabama beating LSU in the National Championship last night. I even attended a “lesser” bowl game with some friends this season – my first ever college bowl game! I think that’s why this particular topic has been on my heart lately.
I assure you that I mean no disrespect or condemnation regarding what I’m going to say. I have plenty of my own planks to worry about – but, there is definitely a positive takeaway from my thoughts.
These questions came up on Sunday (and I’m certain it has been asked in seasons before). Does God like football? Is God involved in the game of football? Does He only cheer for Christian players? If Tim Tebow played Drew “Brees-us” in the Superbowl, which team would God pick?
I think part of the fascination is in light of Tim Tebow passing for 316 yards on Sunday, and winning games that he probably shouldn’t (Sunday is an exception, Denver definitely outplayed the Steelers). People have been talking about the “miracles” involving Tebow all season! The same thoughts came about when the Saints won the Superbowl a couple of years ago.
Someone posted on a friend’s Facebook (I can’t find the quote, so this is a paraphrase) that God gave each of us gifts and talents, including the ability to play sports, and He likes when players glorify Him in everything they do. I believe that is true, and I believe you can glorify God in everything you do – whether that be singing praise songs, helping a stranger, or playing football. If true glory is given completely to Him, that is a great thing!
I don’t know much about Tim Tebow or Drew Brees, but I do get the impression they are authentic believers. And, that’s awesome! I think they have a special opportunity to show their love for Christ on a National scale, although it must be hard to not let pride take over and humbly give God all of the glory. I certainly do not envy their status, as the pressure must be immense!
The question remains….does God like football? I cannot really speak for God on this exact topic, but l do know He says “You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3)”. And, that does include the god of football.
Bear with me, here, let me explain…
An idol is anything that takes our focus off of the one true God. An idol does not have to be another being, or a graven image; it can be anything that we love excessively or more than we love God.
We all have idols in our lives, and it’s good to examine them from time to time. One way to look at what idols are influencing you is to see how you spend your time and money. This can be very humbling, but it also is a good depiction of what you value.
From what I’ve seen in the past few months, many people love football… I mean, really….love….football! More than God? Only God knows the true extent of that, but it really got me thinking….
Have you seen the fervor with which some people sing college fight songs? The whole stadium chanting loudly, sometimes with arms around each other, boldly proclaiming their love for their team. Imagine how beautiful it would be for us all to sing praise songs to God with that same enthusiasm!
Have you seen how excited people get about play-off games and bowl games? How amazing would it be to channel that energy into Bible study or church!
Have you noticed how emotionally involved people become while watching games that are nail-biters? It’s a wonder some people don’t have heart attacks! How incredible would it be to be that invested in our relationship with Jesus!
I sincerely believe that God uses football for His glory, but also that Satan can use football to take our focus off of God. How perfect would it be if we could use our love of non-spiritual things, such as football, as a model for how to love God and other people?
That would be a perfect 14-0 season for sure!