Sports Are FunDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time—the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time—all for just going ahead and having a good time—few years God gives us on earth.
Like many of you, I greatly enjoy sports. My favorite is baseball. My favorite team, since Junior High School: the reigning World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. I watch about 100 MLB games a year. I am a fan. There is a difference between idolatry and fandom. And, there are positive, God-glorifying elements about sports.
Sports Help Build Community
Jesus was constantly gathering people together for a party. He ate with sinners and religious leaders. He traveled with his twelve disciples and the nebulous crowds. And, Jesus talked about things that interested those around him, things like farming, fishing, money, and relationships. Jesus brought people together.
Sports can do the same thing. Sports are a gathering point for people, creating instant bonds. It can draw people together for a common cause and, like the first Red Sox home game after the Boston Marathon bombing, it can help heal wounds.
Jesus calls us to disciple one another. The best athletic coaches don’t just coach a game, they coach life skills transferable to every aspect of life. Jesus modeled this when he talked about loving our neighbors, demonstrated real hospitality, exercised rest in the midst of a busy schedule, and encouraged his followers to not worry about tomorrow.
The NCAA has the slogan, “There are 400,000 student athletes, and most of them are going pro in something other than sports.h It is true. Less than 1% of all athletes go pro. But sports develop us as people to become better adults. For example, during the Baylor vs. Creighton NCAA men’s basketball tournament second round, a frustrated Creighton player pushed a Baylor player to the floor, late in the game.. Doug McDermott, the star of Creighton, looked reproachfully at his teammate before walking over and helping the Baylor player up. That is the sign of a complete person who understands human dignity. He learned it from his father, the head coach of Creighton, who tries to instill such values in all his players.
Finally, as Ecclesiastes teaches, sometimes we just need to have a little fun. Playing games is great exercise. They serve as fun ways to interact with other people made in the image of God. Sport helps us embrace a temporary Sabbath, forget our stresses, and enjoy life more. Sports are great exercise and help reduce harmful effects of stress and life difficulties, equipping us to better face our problems in a positive way. They help foster that childlike wonder in play we all so desperately need at times.
While the Bible doesn’t give us an account of Jesus playing an organized sport, he did rest and fully embrace all life has to offer. In many ways, sports can be a part of embracing that life.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What are some positive things that have come out of sport for you personally? Is it wrong to be a professional athlete?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for sports, games, and entertainment. Forgive me for the times I place it ahead of you in an unhealthy way. Help me to use sports in a positive manner to build up individuals for the sake of your Kingdom work. Amen.
Sports for the Glory of God
If God has created humanity with bodies that are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” we need to develop a Christian way of living that incorporates play and recreation, leisure and competition, sports and athletics. Faith in the Creator and Redeemer should lead us to identify the way sports and athletics are meant to be, discern when something is wrong with sports in our broken and sinful culture, and imagine ways to be instruments of redemption in this sphere. In this series, "Sports for the Glory of God," we engage with stories of people who are working through these issues on a daily basis.