I live in the Atlanta area, kind of smack in the middle of the “Bible belt.” This long standing nickname would lead most to believe that Christianity is the most prevalent religion in these parts. It’s not.

The most prevalent religion around here is football.

I rarely see Christians rally together or cheer on one another the way sports fans do. Tailgating is the praise and worship that sets the mood for the sermon game. Season tickets sell no matter the cost. The pews may be sparsely occupied on Sunday but that stadium will be packed!

I can’t say that I’m a die hard fan by any means except for my alma mater (Go Rattlers!) but football occupies a more prominent place in the lives of many far above the basic precepts of love God and love your neighbor.

Yet, I don’t think I have ever seen anything break down barriers between people the way football can. Race, nationality, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and politics become irrelevant as long as you are for the home team. People who wouldn’t speak to one another at any other time will embrace, high five and cheer together.

We “Christians” might just learn a thing or two from these die hard fanatics. 

I rarely see such levels of commitment and devotion for the church like I see for sports. Football season is priority for many.

How often do we “religious folk” schedule activities around God instead of squeezing God into a packed schedule?

Am I bashing football? Most definitely not!

UNEXPECTED GIFTS BLESSED DEVOTIONAL  Athletics provide an opportunity for many people to improve their circumstances. Football also teaches how to win and how to accept defeat. It instills the importance of working together for a common cause. Football builds solidarity among individuals. I would just love to see these same attributes displayed prominently in the church.

What if “Christians” shared this same type enthusiasm for people?

God’s people.

I’m talking about the people we glance over or would rather not deal with. I’m talking about those who are broken and when we ask how they are, we don’t want to hear their truth.

It is our commandment to love them.

I’d love to see Christians help those who are hurting as quickly as we would purchase tickets to enjoy the game.

I’m sure on any given weekend millions are cheering for their team. What about encouraging the addict or the mentally ill?

What if we chose to commit to something that lasts longer than the season?  

What if for just one weekend, we offered our time and money for a charitable cause. Even assisting a neighbor, friend or family member will do.

These efforts, unlike those for the game, leave a lasting impression and demonstrate God’s love. God uses us to do His work.

Every sports team strives to build a legacy. Shouldn’t we want to do the same for God? And not grudgingly, but with that same enthusiasm we show the home team?

Just a few random thoughts today.

I’m off to watch the game.

By Lilka Finley Raphael

Author, Editor, Gardner, Photographer, Pharmacist


  1. I love this. I just started a small group at church based off of war room. Last night was the first night. And we talked about lukewarm Christians and challenged ourselves to really ask if we were on fire for God!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gotta love that old time Religion Lilka 🙂 I immediately thought of the tiny church I attended many years ago in California. Those old-time hymns blessed me so much at a time when I was really struggling, and that time in my life became one of the happiest for my family. But, yes…I get your message and I have to say that I never did fully relate to the American sport thing. Nor here, with our ‘football’ (soccer) thing. I love this ‘random thoughts’ post…you give great food for thought about the way we live our lives. Have a wonderful weekend my friend. And enjoy the game 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sherri. I hope you are having a good weekend.

      I can definitely relate to those old hymns that remind me of what I know to be true of our Father. Contemporary Christian is all the rage now but that old hymnal with songs from the 1800s still stirs me! I have many “random thoughts.” I just managed to hold on this one. Much peace and love to you from one Moma Bear to another. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aw, a woman after my own heart! A football fan!! Seriously, however, I see your point and agree with it. The “fan base” at our churches seems to be on the decline with people choosing to do many other things on Sundays, football games included.

    What a state of affairs we have with this problem. What can make a worship service in church like a tailgating, fist pumping, well attended sporting event? A change of heart I suppose. I love my football too, but I go to church on Sundays. Besides, there’s plenty of football on during the week…

    Good post, Lilka!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve. It would be nice if the “church” were passionate about loving people as God commanded instead of going off on tangents/distractions that do not Glorify God or love people so they can be ministered into wholeness. At least the sports fans are passionate. Church people can be to, but often it is over nonsense and not a passion for people as God commands. Sometimes we miss the big picture because we are concentrating our efforts on a gnat. But that’s another post 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The old story of removing the plank from one’s eye so they can see to remove the splinter from another’s eye! Sports fans can unite so well behind a common cause…a lesson for the Christian to learn!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If man had not “tweaked” the Lord’s word with some of his own doctrine, there would be more unity. As it is, the problem with finding a united message starts with man’s additions/subtractions from God’s pure word…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So true! Man is always trying to add to what Christ already accomplished. Man has managed to overly complicate His simple dictate to love God and love one another. Instead condemnation is rampant. This world is hurting for unity. God’s hands, His plans. I trust in Him.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Always so well put, Lilka! That is exactly the point. People blame our man-made problems on God when so many different churches teach so many different things!

        That’s the work of humans not of God. Love God, keep HIS commandments. Love each other as we are loved. This makes up the law of God. The sooner man learns that and follows it, the better off we will be!

        Liked by 1 person

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