“Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.” — Deuteronomy 29:18
The Sports Cycle
We are nearing one of the several “perfect storms” of the sports seasons throughout every calendar year. NBA and NHL drama are about to spike with trade deadlines approaching, March Madness is just a few months away, and what many consider a national holiday in the Super Bowl just finished a few days ago.
And somehow, regardless of if it’s your personal favorite team that comes out on top in whatever championship draws closer, life will continue, and sooner than we think, a new team or player will be crowned. The celebration of waiting an entire year and seeing your hometown claim that certain title will then be overshadowed with ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early-Next-Season-Championship-Odds.”
The luster will be gone. Your job, family and everyday life responsibilities will need to be tended to, and your life will not practically change. And we just wait until the next season for the feeling to come back. And the cycle repeats.
Does Jesus want us to enjoy the relaxation that can come along with following sports? Well, He very evidently approves of taking time to rest our mind, body and soul (John 4:6, Mark 6:31). But he also does warn us of the worship of other gods that we can confuse for rest or pleasure, that ultimately will not fulfill us in the manner in which He is able to do.
The original Greek translation of “worship” is proskuneo, which means “to kiss the hand to (toward).” Jesus is eternal, and offers full life in every moment, whether in suffering or celebration.
What if our enjoyment of sports came from a heart of thankfulness that God has given us events to experience, and we don’t wrap our identity into the events? What if we could celebrate our favorite team, but not need to go into a week-long potato-chip eating depression when they lose? This is a Romans 12:2 type of calling, but one that proves to be worth it.
— Chris Pennington
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