Wednesday, January 2, 2008


In light of OU’s big football game against West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl tonight (GO SOONERS!) and the fact that it’s being played on a “church night” (Wednesday), I present the following food for thought:

What's more important to us -God or sports?
What are we more committed to - church or our children's sporting events?

The following article below is part of a series of articles written by Wade Tannehill, entitled, “The Changing Values of the Church.” Warning: It will smack you right between your eyes.

“It's mind-boggling to consider the amount of money some people will spend, the lines in which they will stand, and the inconvenience they will endure, all in the name of sports. This year I attended my first Ohio State football game. As we approached the stadium, fans weren't hard to spot because so many were wearing team colors. Many were having tail gate parties, some of which began as early as five in the morning. Outside the stadium some without tickets were in tents, with generators set up to power their TVs and satellite dishes on tripods. It reminded me of worshipers gathered in the Court of the Gentiles because they couldn't get into the inner courts of the temple.

Hold on a minute! Did I say worshipers? Is sports a religion? With some, yes. One's God, or idol, is whatever one makes a priority. It's been said that the easiest way to identify your object of worship is to examine your check book register and your day planner. Wherever your discretionary time and money goes, that is your religion. Now I'm not saying all sports fans are idolaters or that there is anything wrong with being a sports fan. But some are excessive.

There aren't too many revivals, gospel meetings, or seminars on Scripture anymore. Some churches have canceled Sunday and/or Wednesday night meetings because the people just won't come out.

Some could not possibly make it through a weekly one hour Bible class, but they're parked in front of the TV three hours straight to watch football.
  • Some are unable to locate key Scriptures, but they can cite sports statistics .
  • Some are simply too busy to volunteer for church programs, but they can make tremendous sacrifice for their kids' sports programs.
  • Some make contributions to the church that by no means reflect their prosperity, but they can somehow afford to be season ticket holders.
  • Some will endure all kinds of weather to watch sports, but they won't drive to church in a snow flurry.
  • Some will unashamedly walk out in the middle of a worship assembly to attend a sporting event, but how many will leave before a game is over to attend a church event?
  • Some would never travel for a church retreat and would never dream of using vacation time to attend a lectureship or worship conference, but they will travel for sporting events and tournaments.
    Each year parents shell out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to keep their kids in sports. It's common for folks to make an early exit from the assembly due to sports commitments. It's common for folks to miss an entire season of Sunday worship while a sports season is going on.

Now sports season isn't all that people get excited about. I saw people literally camped out on the sidewalk of Target when Playstation 3 came out. People lined up in bookstores at midnight for the Harry Potter books. On the day after Thanksgiving, the first official shopping day of the Christmas season, people were out at four in the morning standing in lines 150 yards long.

  • But who would stand in line to hear the Word of God preached?
  • Who would adjust their personal budget to generously support those who preach the gospel?
  • Who, these days, would tolerate a sermon that runs the length of their favorite sitcom?
  • Who would sit outside enduring the elements (as they do at ballgames) to hear a sermon?
    Who would travel to hear Scripture taught?

Paul charged Timothy with preaching the Word. He told him to be prepared in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2). As I write this it is football season, deer season, and the holiday season. But in our current church climate, is Scripture in season or out of season?”


WOW!! Are your toes hurting yet? Mine are!

My intention is not to condemn anyone who watches football for three hours because I've spent many hours watching football. My condemnation is for any activity that competes and consistently wins out over our involvement in the corporate gathering of God's people. This notion that “as long as what we’re doing is morally neutral is okay” even though it takes us away from kingdom priorities must be confronted.

Who died and made sports god anyway? If you’ll allow me some great liberty to make some modern application of the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:10:13, “Was Lombardi crucified for you? Did Shula raise you to a glorious new relationship with God? Will Belicheck return to take you home to heaven?” My guess is that non of those guys know the way, or at least not the way that you want to take on that final road into eternity. "...........They followed vanity and became vain....." (2 Kings 17:15) Think about!!

For Christ and the kingdom,
Robert Prater

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