I obviously like sports. I like playing them-on the rare occasion that I get-and watching them. I look forward to watching my son play them. In addition to simply enjoying them as a hobby, sports provide a great in-road into the lives of many, both believers and non-believers.
Folks in this part of W.V. (Teays Valley) are like me. They like sports, so I feel like I fit in fairly well.
But there is also a problem with sports: they can become an idol. They can become a place where our hearts, mine first and foremost, get overly distracted and entangled. They can quickly replace Jesus. And they can quickly replace the church as many American Christians will take extended breaks from worship just to take their kids to sporting venues (this may happen in other countries but I can only “vouch” for America).
However, sports don’t have to be an idol. In fact they can even be the opposite: something which points us toward Jesus and His glory. C.J. Meheney has as incredibly rich sermon on how to honor Christ with our sports called “Don’t Waste Your Sports.” Justin Taylor blogs a blurb about it here, and has a place where you can watch the video of it as well-I’m glad there is no video of us at Redeemer, although since we meet in a movie theater, you kind of think there should be….
Whether you’re a fan of watching sports, play church softball, or have kids in sports, this sermon is very applicable to you (if you’re not a fan or athlete or parent of either, then you probably won’t find it worth your time). And challenging. And frankly, most of the American church thinks very little about how Jesus and sports collide. Questions like “How do I honor God by watching football” and “Should I regularly skip worship so Johnny can play soccer?” have to be asked. Too often we just do, without any real consideration whether or not something is honoring or dishonoring to God. We just do without thinking. We do without being challenged to think through what it really means to “eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God.” Convictions will and should vary among Christians, yet we still need to be challenged and encouraged to “Not Waste Our Sports.”
This sermon has actually been made into a booklet of the same name, which I’m going to pick up soon. It’s never too early or too late to start thinking through how to truly honor Christ with your sports.