For the past two weeks the news is filled with Super Bowl hoopla! “Deflate-gate.” Marshawn Lynch’s refusal to say something coherent to the media. And of course, anything relating to quarterback Tom Brady. His hair. His toboggan. And his wife, Gisele!
Advertisers are jockeying for position to get their ads seen in advance to create excitement. NBC announced they’ve sold all their Super Bowl ads. The average price for a 30 second spot during the big game is a record-setting $4.5 million!
The Super Bowl is a big deal. Over 73,000 will watch in person at The University of Phoenix Stadium. Even with the average ticket price ballooning to $6,459. It is estimated that 180 million people will watch the game on TV. And that 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Super Bowl Sunday!
However, is the Super Bowl over hyped? In fact, is our national enthusiasm for sports in general misdirected? Do we allow our passion for our team to overshadow our good sense, and even good manners in our facebook posts?
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist, thinks so. Ablow has been critical of our national sports obsession. In an op-ed piece entitled “Sports Don’t Matter, not one iota” Dr. Ablow sounded this warning.
It’s time the world of sports and sports fans got over themselves. They are a glaring symbol of how little passion of their own people have now, how much they need to be ceaselessly entertained and how willing they are to settle for being fans, instead of fanning the flames of their own passions.”
Dr. Ablow says that we live in a “culture that wrongfully deifies sports figures, including coaches, and is lost in pretending that who wins (the Super Bowl) matters to the future of our existence—which it does not, at all. Not one bit. Not one iota.
I hate to agree with Dr. Ablow. I love sports. I played sports. I watch sports. Especially, the best sport–Basketball! Yet, I sometimes wonder how much better the world would be if Christians possessed the same enthusiasm for spiritual matters, as we do a ball game?
Of course, team sports are not the only outlet for our enthusiasm and energy. There are many distractions in our world today that clamor for our time and attention. Hunting. Fishing. Golfing. Traveling. Socializing. Watching television. Various hobbies. Family functions. Children’s extra-curricular activities. None of these are wrong. All have positive benefits.
Yet, soon, if we’re not careful, these crowd out time for prayer. Bible study. Spiritual devotion. Public worship. Evangelistic outreach. Community involvement. And charitable activities. We only have so much energy and enthusiasm.
The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek “en theos” which means “God in us.” All human beings are created in the image of God. But as Christians we have a spark of the divine nature. God desires that our enthusiasm is spiritually focused.
The Bible exhorts, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24).
The word “heartily” means with feeling, passion, and gusto. Christians ought to be passionate about God’s purpose for their lives…more so than who wins the Super Bowl!
The Bible often uses the word “zeal” to describe our feeling toward spiritual matters, good works, and our relationship to God (2 Cor 9:2; 1 Pet 3:13; Titus 2:14).
To the spiritually lukewarm Laodicean church, distracted by the materialism of the world, John admonished, “Be zealous! And repent!”
I’m NOT calling for a Super Bowl boycott among believers! Watch it, if you so choose! Enjoy it! And eat some wings!
But just remember in the eternal scheme of God’s plan for you, there are more important matters than Sunday’s final score. Or the air pressure in a football!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman