Footballs don’t bleed. They may, and probably have, had the blood of a human being on them during the course of a football game. However the life from which the blood came has infinitely more worth than the leather and laces we watch men and boys chase during the fall. In the United States, football is the most popular sport. Many have outlined the parallels between the sport and our culture: hard work, dedication, conquering territory, violence, etc. Football is our sport. It is quintessentially American. There is no other sport like it. The passion for the game is seen in every bare chested dude with body and face paint braving the frigid temperatures in Buffalo, NY. Every dirty look for mentioning your rival’s name. Every time you stand up when it looks like a running back just might break through the secondary. Every time you yell at your TV. You do it. I do it. Being a fan is fun, exciting and provides a break from life that is much needed from time to time.
This isn’t a Jesus Juke, but it’s worth asking myself: If a game can insight this kind of passion in me, why not a Savior? If watching men bloody themselves on Friday night through Sunday gets you amped then why not a God-man who’s blood is rich, royal and can wash the very sin that condemns us? If season tickets and pay-per-view are worth our wallet’s affections then how much more should we offer not just our monetary resources, but our entire lives to the Gospel of Christ?
“Anything you love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God is your idol.” – Adrian Rogers
Our hearts can only esteem so much; only hold so much so high. In other words, there is only so much room in our hearts and what we choose to fill it with is so very important. So naturally, if our hearts, minds and wallets are over-invested in temporal things, the eternal things only get what’s left over. And that’s not worship. That’s idolatry. (Hence this post’s title.)
The Church of Pig Skin has too many members. By that I mean those who idolize American football. This isn’t everyone, but it is some of us. This could easily be said of a more international sport too, soccer. Passion for any game can never trump our passion for the Game-Changer. This isn’t to say we should compare how we approach our faith to how we approach a game. Indeed, we need games and sports. They serve an important purpose, but they are morally neutral. We only defile them by our worship. They weren’t intended for that. They can’t sustain us. Sports can be good for us but sometimes we turn good things into “god” things. There is type of passion and love we can have for sports. However, there is passion, reverence and dedication that should be evident in how we treat the things of God that isn’t comparable to that of a mere game or anything else for that matter.
Jesus is clutch. He is victorious. He is our Redeemer and King. We should treat him as such and not a side-note to life. He is the life. The side-notes are the games. And that’s just why they’re called “games”.
(*photo cred malibuyouthfootball.com)