I don’t watch soccer.
In fact, I don’t watch any professional sports.
I know I just ostracized most of my readers, but please don’t stop reading.
It’s not because I think they’re wicked or anything. I just don’t enjoy them.
Yet despite the fact that I don’t watch sporting events, I have a young man living with my family right now who’s an avid fan, player, and great tutor for the soccer-ignorant. So I watched a couple games with him.
One such game was the America vs Portugal game. Besides learning a ton about the world’s favorite pastime, I walked away with one significant observation.
Before I share it, though, I want you to know that I need your opinion on this. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
Here Goes . . .
Can a Christian go too far being a fan?
- When 85% of our social media posts is sports updates . . . have we gone too far?
- When more silent prayers are offered that our team score than anything else . . . have we gone too far?
- When thousands of dollars are spent on sporting events and paraphernalia . . . have we gone too far?
- When the topic of the vast majority of our conversations is sports . . . have we gone too far?
- When our children list “such-n-such a sport” as “Dad’s number one favorite thing” . . . have we gone too far?
I ask these questions because when I turn to God’s Word I see people consumed with one of two things:
- God and His purposes in this life.
- Themselves and their own purposes in this life.
Does this mean playing and watching soccer is a sin because it somehow isn’t part of God’s purposes?
I firmly believe that there’s a time for Christ-honoring vacation and relaxation. I just returned from a vacation, and last Monday I was out in the sand playing volleyball with friends. God has created a world with many blessings we can participate in and enjoy – especially if we’re using them to build and enhance redemptive relationships.
But . . .
Professional sporting events have an amazing way of showing what’s really important to us. What consumes our speech and our bank accounts betrays what’s sitting on the throne of our lives. Each trophy, cup, and ring competition exposes millions of hearts:
- We get angry when a “bad call” is made.
- We become inconsolable when our team loses.
- We show our superstitious sides.
- We waste thousands of dollars on events, bric-a-brac, and clothes.
- We can’t get into a conversation without asking about “last night’s game.”
- We update Twitter about the game on our phones as we watch the game on our TV’s and re-watch the highlights on our iPads.
And though #6 may be perfectly acceptable behavior by itself within the context of a life dedicated to God, most of the same people who participate in the above activities . . .
- . . . don’t have a spirit of grace and patience in their every day life.
- . . . don’t respond correctly when situations don’t go their way.
- . . . don’t trust God in every difficulty knowing that He is more powerful than a habit, beard, or article of clothing.
- . . . don’t invest their money in the Body of Christ and ministries dedicated to reaching the lost and discipling the nations.
- . . . don’t look for opportunities to participate in redemptive conversations.
- . . . don’t find reasons to post God’s truth on social media.
AGAIN, I’ve tried very hard to be clear that I don’t believe this is true all of the time, but most of our sports clichés, stereotypes, and every day sports-experiences give credence to the fact that my observations are true far more often than not.
So, what do you think?
Can a Christian go too far being a fan?
Danielle Baker posted this last week: “Wedded Bliss: 10 Years Married to a Sports Addict,” and though it doesn’t provide an answer, it does relate to the question.
Should it be said of us that we’re addicted to anything other than God? I believe this questions extends far beyond sporting events as well. It goes for music, movies, movements, and menus as well.
Please comment below if you’d like to join the conversation.