Faith, Football and our Eternal Purpose

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Like many of you, I am an avid sports fan. I played multiple sports growing up and now that I’m too old to play, I watch sports and cheer on my favorite teams even when there is not much to cheer about. As a devoted sports fan, I thought I had seen everything. However, yesterday something happened that I have never seen before and hope I never see again.

The Houston Texans were a popular pick to be a Super Bowl contender this season. Unfortunately, the season has not started according to plan. The Houston Texans entered yesterday’s game having lost three of their last four games and yesterday’s outcome was no different. The Texans suffered a crushing loss to the St. Louis Rams by a score of 38-13.

The loss is not what people are talking about this morning though. Instead, people around the country are talking about what the Texans fans did after their embattled quarterback Matt Schaub went down late in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury. As he was leaving the game due to his injury, some fans began to cheer, but not for the right reasons. The fans were cheering because they were happy their quarterback was injured. Yes, you heard that correct. The fans were cheering because a player was injured and knocked out of the game.

Now, I will admit, there have been plenty of times I have been disappointed in the way my favorite teams have played (after all…I’m a Tennessee Vols, Atlanta Braves and Tennessee Titans fan). If you are a fan of any of these teams, you can relate to the recent years of disappointment. However, their play (or lack of play) on the field doesn’t give me or any other fan the right to cheer when someone gets hurt, no matter how bad they have been playing. The fact that the Texans fans cheered because a player was injured is sickening and a disgrace to fans everywhere. Really, have we gotten to the point in America were sports and winning is more important than a person’s physical health?

Sadly, I am afraid the answer to that question is a resounding yes! Sports and winning have become more important that just about everything else in life. We have made American sports a god in our society and in our own lives.  We have gotten to the point where our priorities are completely out of order. We have gotten to the point where something as pointless as sports (and I love sports) has become more important to us than the keeping of God’s will for our lives.

Consider just two things mentioned as being a part of God’s will for our lives.

  1. Jesus said we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). Sadly, the game of football has become the top priority in the lives of some individuals. It was God who said we are to have no other gods before Him (Exo. 20:2-5). For those of you who are not football fans, you can replace the word football with whatever unimportant thing you have allowed to be a top priority in your own life.
  2.  We are commanded to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matt. 7:12). What if instead of Matt Schaub being the one who was injured, it was your child or parent lying on the turf in obvious pain? Would you want fans to be cheering because they had gotten hurt? Certainly not. In fact, we would be outraged if that were someone we loved rolling on the ground in pain as fans cheered for joy.

What I’m trying to say is maybe it is time for us to hit pause for just a moment and reexamine our lives to see if we are caught up in something that serves no eternal value in the end. If football or anything else for that matter is so important we would neglect keeping God’s standards and commands, our lives and priorities are completely out of place.

Seeing what took place in Houston yesterday breaks my heart because it suggests to me we have a long ways to go in reestablishing God as the heart and center of our great country. May God help us to refocus our lives on our eternal purposes and not on the temporal!

Now that’s Something to Think About!





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