The joy that is the NFL season has finally come upon us. Kick-Off Day has arrived! Put on your team gear, tail-gate, grill some greasy meat, invite your friends and rivals over; because football is back! There is something unique about the NFL over every other PRO sport in America. Maybe it’s that there aren’t 162 games (MLB), or there is a little, and I mean just a little, less mega-ego (NBA), or the fact that a majority of America knows the rules (NHL or Soccer), whatever it is, there is something incredibly special about football.
For me, it is the rivalry and competition brought about by fantasy football. It was back in 2009 that I first played in a church league. The youth pastor and I had become friends, and after a brief explanation of “why” people play a faux sport, I was in. Little did I know what I was in for! Fast-forward to today, 2013, and I am now invested in more than just a friendly church league. Money has been won, embarrassing dances have been danced, and hours of research invested to make the playoffs. Fingers crossed again!
In all the hubbub that comes with 16 weeks of grid-iron bliss on our T.V.’s, may I propose a few commandments that all Christian NFL fans follow do to keep their priorities straight while basking in the glory that is football.
No Other Gods: Jesus > Football/Everything
I love football. I love the big hits, amazing catches, and the hilarious blooper replays of Mark Sanchez butt fumbling.
While I do love somethings much more than football (wife, baby, family, etc…), I have one first and greatest love: Jesus. I believe our affections are proven by the things we are dedicated to above all else. Here are a few things we can do to show others where our affections lay.
- I will choose to make more noise for Jesus in my worship and behavior than I will for any NFL or fantasy team.
- I will read my bible and pray more than I watch football during the week.
- I will dwell on the excellent things of God (Philippians 4:8) more than football.
There is literally an opportunity to watch sports all day, every day. ESPN paved the way to 24 hour sport news. While this is a blessing for night-owls, and over-night security guards it can become a curse. There is a game to watch Thursday, Sunday, and Monday (Saturdays as well if you’re a college fan). This means that we need to balance our time. Choose your favorite team, or when you have football friends over to watch. Don’t ignore your responsibilities to your family for the next 6 months. Get some yard work done, go to the park and enjoy flannel and the beautiful leaves turning, play catch and teach your kids the joy of football; just don’t get glued to the screen and miss out on what really matters.
Remember the Sabbath: Keep Holy Time
Just because football has come does not mean that skipping church can become a norm. You can still attend church and noon kick-off by waking up early and making it to 1st service. Or better yet, Saturday night! This means setting your fantasy line-up before service, and leaving your phone in your pocket while you worship your King. There is time to slip a check at Twitter for injury reports during “coffee time,” but let’s be sure to be connected to our church as well as a good example to your community about holy time.
Football is a great way for us to gather community to enjoy a meal and celebrate a terribly fun game. So as the summer leaves turn to fall, and we click the tube to watch gridiron glory, remember what matters most.
Cheers to all you NFL fans, and God, if you could find it in your heart, help Tebow to humble himself and play Tight End for someone. Thanks, Me.