This Sunday is perhaps the biggest holiday in America. More than 100 million people from the United States alone will be tuned in to watch the Super Bowl. During the game American’s will eat over 2400 calories of junk food during the game. This year my New England Patriots will face off against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Sunday is also the day when thousands of children around the country will lace up their athletic shoes for some more friendly competition. In the midst of this hubbub it’s easy to forget about another thing that tends to happen on Sunday’s. What’s it called again? Oh yes, church.
The rise of both youth and adult sports that play on Sundays has created a strange new conflict for Christians. Suddenly a decision must be made. We are forced to decide between sports and church. Increasingly, sports win that decision.
Here’s the deal. I think we can all agree that consistency is very important to build relationships with our church family and to grow as disciples. With this focus on consistency we have all probably made decisions to say “no” to other things so we can be in church on Sundays. And, yet, for some reason sports can be its own ball game (pun intended).
Now, I’m not saying that one missed Sunday will derail your spiritual growth but you have to admit that our society is set up to undermine the discipline of regularly attending church. Unless you are very vigilant to protect your church commitment, you can quickly find that one Sunday missed has become many Sunday’s missed. If you allow this process to continue the “church habit” you once possessed will likely be replaced.
Please keep this in mind: church attendance is not the goal. The church, however, is the way that God has provided for people to grow in their knowledge and love of who God is and build redemptive relationships. Basically, church is not just a good idea it is God’s idea.
This brings us back to our predicament. We can hopefully acknowledge that church is important but at the same time the Super Bowl begins at the same time as most Sunday evening services. In addition, this Sunday will probably not be the only time this year that a sport happens at the same time as a church service. Whether it’s the Super Bowl or your kid’s peewee football game there will likely be a time where you are forced to choose between church and sports.
I’m not here to tell you not to watch the big game this Sunday. I will likely be wearing red, white, and blue all day on Sunday and you can be sure that as soon as the closing prayer is over on Sunday night I will be headed straight to my car so I can get home without missing much of the game. Maybe this Sunday you could allow this “sports dilemma” to be a time to consider how you prioritize your faith. Part of your process of maturing in your faith is allowing moments and people to challenge and examines your heart. That includes the importance you place on sports.
On Super Bowl Sunday, most Americans will be watching the game, and thousands of Christians will likely be doing the same. Regardless of who takes home the Lombardi Trophy the question still remains: What is most important in your life? This Sunday I’ll be rooting for the Patriots but my happiness does not rest on whether or not they win or lose. I also will be making the purposeful decision to place church as first priority on my calendar even if it means I will miss the first quarter of the Super Bowl.
Posted by Caleb