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!
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?
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.