One of the earliest memory I have is dunking a little orange ball into a blue, white, and red Little Tikes basketball hoop. There are pictures of 4-year-old Tim showing off my tongue as I rocked the Chicago Bulls jersey with the big ‘23’ on the front. I would go on to play a sport every year until I was 16 years old. I have played baseball, football, basketball, and every made-up sport in our backyard. I can honestly say that sports were my first love.
We all love sports. There’s something special about them. There’s not one thing that people love about sports. Each person loves sports for their own reason. It is different to each personality. There are memories that we associate with sports, like getting all the sodas mixed in one cup after a long baseball tournament with your friends. We love sports because it’s entertaining. We watch it, listen to it, and we sit in the rain on a Saturday night with our dad and thousands of other wet fans.
We love sports because it brings people of every race and religion together in a world that is causing division and animosity. We love sports because it is conflict, but it is conflict that ends when the game is over, instead of other conflicts in our everyday lives that don’t end. Sports has this ability to make an impact on our lives. As the football season is beginning in a few weeks, some of us will dedicate a lot of time on our favorite players and team. Sports are a huge part of our lives. But I encourage you to look at sports in a new light this year.
Sports can become an idol. We look forward to weekends because of football instead of Sunday worship. We read statistics instead of scripture. We pay attention to our fantasy football team more than our praying life. There’s a fine line between the two, and I hope that we are making our faith a priority. Because when we do, we can look at sports as an opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to spend a part of our lives with those who don’t know Christ as we tailgate before the big game. It’s the chance to spend time with our small group watching a boxing match until midnight. It has the ability to bridge a gap between the world and His Kingdom.
TIM HELLER | YOUTH PASTOR