Football fans are teaching us a lesson about faith.
These early days of January are a football fan’s favorite time. This weekend saw NFL teams fighting it out in the playoffs and tomorrow night Alabama and LSU will face off in the biggest game in recent memory. Fans are beside themselves. Their eyes are red from watching so many games and reading so many newspaper stories. They are fanatics.
Instead of bemoaning the fact that a football will get more attention this week than a Bible, I’d like to learn something. I’d like to know why football is more appealing than faith. I think I have found a few answers.
Football provides an escape from the daily grind of life.
When you sit down to watch a football game the cares of life seem to fade away. Whether it’s a Friday night high school game or an NFL game nothing else seems to matter for about three hours. For that brief time we escape.
Christians should be telling people that there is an escape from this world too. The word “church” literally means a group of people called together, out of the world, for a purpose. When we assemble together each week (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25) we leave the world behind. For a few hours we meet with God and focus on Him alone.
Football is a common topic throughout the rest of the week.
We are better prepared to discuss the ins-and-outs of the sport of we have watched the weekend games. People will talk to complete strangers about the game. Here in the South, football is so big that almost everyone will talk about it.
Christians also have a common topic: victory in Jesus. Every person alive can enjoy that victory. All can win against Satan. Whosoever will may come to know the Lord and their sins can be forgiven (1 John 2:2). With good news like that, we should be shouting the victory to all people, family and strangers alike. It is odd that we can talk to strangers about a football game but not about their souls.
Football showcases those who give their all on a field of battle.
When we see people like Trent Richardson run headlong into massive linemen we cheer for his strength and talent. These warriors perform at their best week after week.
Like football, Christians also cheer for those who laid it on the line for Jesus Christ. A reading of Hebrews 11 reminds us of all those of whom “the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:38); those who gave all they had. Unlike football, we are not simply spectators. We are now on the field and they are watching us (Hebrews 12:1). Our competition lasts much longer than 60 minutes. We play for a lifetime. Our victory is not a crystal football trophy but a glorious crown which the Lord Himself will give us (2 Timothy 4:8).
There are similarities between football fans and Christians. But it is the differences that make our faith so rewarding. Let us worship like we have never worshipped before. Let us cheer for the spiritual victories like we have never cheered before. And let us live in victory forever as only God’s people can.