Monday, February 03, 2020

Football and Faith

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While about 100,000,000 people watched the Super Bowl game yesterday because they like football, the players were expressing the faith they live by every day of the week.

TV doesn't pay as much attention to their faith as it does to their football, even though the faith is more important to many players than their football career.

And there are those who criticize the faithful, often scoffing, "Well, God must prefer the winning team to the losing team."

A look behind the screen is informing and inspiring.

Be informed.

By now everyone who cares knows the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl yesterday.

Both teams have a number of deeply committed Christians, including ownership in their organizations.

The San Francisco 49ers

The team chaplain, Earl Smith said this week that he has been doing a series from the Bible on selflessness throughout this season with the Christian players.

Smith says he has seen the players exhibit that Christian virtue throughout the season among the players. He believes it has been helpful in their winning the right to play in the Superbowl.

He says he emphasized in the Bible studies, "Hope, trust and accountability."

Smith says they also studied the Lord's Prayer and the theme of what "the Lord is."

He says,
"Because if you look at David's story, he continuously talked about who the Lord was to him---in so many different ways beyond just being the Good Shepherd. And so telling the guys to find a personal way to explain and express who God is for them was really a point this year."

Smith noted that during this football season, the brother of 49ers back up quarterback, C.J. Beathard, was stabbed and killed in December.

He says in their grief the Beathard family relied heavily on their personal faith in God.

The Kansas City Chiefs

Only minutes had passed following the Chief's winning their first trip to the Super Bowl in 50 years that the Chief's CEO/owner Clark Hunt was brought up on stage to accept the AFC championship hardware. It's called the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after the founder of both the AFC and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lamar was Clark's father.

The trophy has been called "The Lamar Hunt Trophy" since 1984, but this year was the first time the Chiefs had won it in 50 years.

The moment was not lost on Clark.

In the midst of the confetti falling and euphoria flowing from the excitement of going to Super Bowl LIV, he gave thanks to "his father"---his Heavenly Father.

He said,
"I want to thank the Lord for blessing us with this opportunity. The glory belongs to him. And this trophy belongs to the best fans in the National Football League."
Many churches in both Kansas City and San Francisco prayed God's blessing on their respective teams.

Should athletes thank God after winning?

World Religion News published an article a while back declaring that athletes should never thank God for winning. In fact, they called it a "travesty."

Their article said,
"You watch post-game interviews for any sport and at least one player will give a shout out for the win to God. Why? Does God really care about the results of a sporting match? Instead of caring about genocide, poverty, environmental destruction, or the host of problems facing the globe today He has decided to focus on a sporting match?"

The article continues, "That seems like a bad set of priorities. Also, Jesus did not seem that interested in sporting matches when He spoke."

And they make the case that "these athletes are promoting a particular type of evangelical Christianity that has an us vs. them mentality. It's good vs. evil, winner takes all. Therefore, the team that wins is clearly favored by God."

The takeaway.

These remarks published in World Religion News gives testament to the flaw of the religious Left. He didn't, but Jim Wallis himself could have written this piece.

Among other things, it reveals just how much the religious Left has bent Scripture to support their "narrative"--as they say--a narrative that focuses on human "compassion" rather than Christ. A narrative that focuses on the moment rather than eternity---one that is more preoccupied with me and my works, than Christ and His redemptive work.

How many times does Paul use a sports metaphor in Scripture?

  • "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize. So run that ye may obtain" (1 Corinthians 9: 24-27).
  • "Lay aside every weight, and the sin that does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
  • "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that you may obtain" (1 Corinthians 9:24).
  • "I therefore so run, not as uncertainty; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air" (1 Corinthians 9:26).
  • "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7-8).

The list of sports metaphors goes on and on because people understand the metaphors, and they are used by Paul and biblical Christians today to communicate God's Truth.

These athletes see beyond the game, unlike the critical religious Left, and hope to use the moment to simply bring glory to God in the sphere of their influence. It's not about a score---it's about how they finish in real life.

Russell Wilson, the star quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks---who did not make it to the Super Bowl this year---often quotes this Scripture: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. And He delights in his way."

Wilson stands on that Truth in winning and losing football games. Paul would say, "Amen!"

Yesterday, the 49ers lost. The Chiefs won. The biblical Christians on both sides will go on with their lives because they are focused on being faithful to God even more than winning football games.

Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Vigilant. Be Blessed. Be Prayerful.