This past Sunday my beloved Packers lost a heart breaking playoff game in overtime. The game was filled with ups and downs throughout–a game that was incredibly exciting to watch.
Without question sports can dominate much of our time, energy, and even our money. You can hardly go any where without seeing someone wearing a hat or shirt displaying their favorite team’s logo. Year after year Americans spend millions upon millions of dollars on tickets and apparel in their attempt to be the best fan they can be.
As a Christian, sports can either do one of two things. Sports can either ruin one’s Christian testimony and joy, or it can be a means of grace and a way to further glorify God. I am sad to say that for years my week was dependent upon the outcome of the weekend’s game. If my team won I was on cloud nine; on the other hand if they lost, I was down in the dumps. Although, admittedly at times, I still put way too much emotion into watching a game, I am learning that one can bring glory to God, even in sports.
So how does a Christian watch sports in a God honoring way? I think it all revolves around your heart and mind set. When we watch sports it can be absolutely amazing what athletes can do. I am amazed at how fast some athletes can run, or jump, or the strength that they hold. While it is natural to give the athletes praise for their abilities, how much more praise should God receive for creating mankind who is capable of such actions. God has such creativity that is worthy of our worship.
We also need to ground our joy in Christ and not in the outcome of a game. Despite what many fans think, a loss is not the end of the world. God is still good and in control even if your team loses the big game. While you may be heartbroken by the loss it should not effect who you are or your attitude.
I think it is important to see sports as a great means of evangelism. If you are a sports nut like myself use your love for sports to get to know others with the intentions of directing the conversation to the gospel. Take your neighbor who is not a Christian to the game or have him over to watch it with you on TV. Use sports as a bridge to get involved in peoples’ lives. Just as Paul became “all things to all men”, as Christians we need to use sports as an avenue to spread the gospel.
Finally, I would encourage you to read the book “Game Day for the Glory of God” by Stephen Altrogge. I found this book very helpful as I desire to channel my passion for sports into greater passion of our great God.