By now you have discovered that I’m a sports fan. With the London Summer Olympics almost upon us [July 27-Aug 12], I’m finding my excitement growing. Although I’ve carried the title of “average player” all my life, I do enjoy getting involved and participating. As I shared last month, much of my sport participation has been laid aside due to neck and back problems. But I STILL LOVE IT!
Sports can really be a plus in our lives, if seen in the right light. The fellowship, exercise, training and good sportsmanship that is involved can be very positive. Yet we can also take a good thing and make it a negative thing. As a child I got mad when things did not go “my way”. God helped me with that and the Holy Spirit developed a healthy sportsmanship within my life whenever I participated. God used me to help develop that same attitude within the church teams that I have participated on. However, when my boys got into sports and I wasn’t in the game, it was a different Steve sitting in the stands. I was loud and cruel with the refs/umpires. Boy, did my Lord take me to the woodshed over that. I was truly giving a bad Christian witness and was turning a good sporting event into something negative.
Games have an important part to play in our lives. Yet there is a time and place for them. It is not appropriate to play games with life, church, or God. These are areas, at least in my thinking, that are out of bounds and not in fair territory. But we tend to stretch the rules a little, don’t we? Let me share with you just a few of the many games that some folks are tempted to play.
1. Tag – This is a real fun game. The rules are simple. “Every time the church visits [tags] me, I’ll come to church one Sunday” or “Tag me at home and I’ll tag you at church”. It sounds fair except it’s hard to know who is “it”.
2. Checkers – This is an old favorite. Getting ahead is the goal. What we need to do is jump over others, gently push them aside, and even get them taken off of some important committees, working toward the day we can say “Crown me”. But I thought love was the goal and that only God was to wear the crown.
3. Hide and seek – Here is a game that has lots of excitement and worlds of personal satisfaction. It goes something like this. A person hides from the church – either at home, in the hospital, going to another church. The object is for the pastor and other members to find him/her, but it is against the rules for anyone to tell the church where the member is hiding. If the church loses the game, the members can have fun telling everyone, “I was absent for two whole weeks and no one came to check on me”. If you are a Christian then you have already been found. And your job is not to hide but to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.
4. Kick Bawl – The purpose of this game is to demoralize the spirit of the entire congregation. Only a small team is needed and the rules are extremely simple. Kick about everything that is done and bawl if you are asked to help. This is a game everyone can participate in. But in this game there are no winners – everybody loses.
I’m all for playing games together. In fact our church has scheduled a game night here at the church for the night of July 1st. Yet it is not Christian to play games with each other. This Sunday, may the Lord find you in His house and serious about your worship and ministry!
On His Team Together,