52 SUNDAYS: What About Sports?


This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.

What About Sports?

I have a 12 year old son who is 6'4", 230 pounds, and wears size 15 shoes. We call him "the gentle giant." The basketball scouts call him "money."

Yet most leagues play or practice on Sundays...I knew we'd face this challenge at some point. If my son wants to be competitive or (as is often the case) I want him to be competitive, skipping church and choosing sports seems inevitable. The best basketball players play on Sundays.

Most don't attend church.

But the difficulty lies not with basketball. Let's make that much clear. Basketball was God's idea. So was football, baseball, base jumping, and freestyle walking. We have only discovered what God knew all along...doing these things are fun. Very fun.

So pick your sport. Enjoy your sport. Glorify God by competing in your sport or just do it for the exercise. Thank God for sports.

Just don't worship your sport.

Here's where wisdom is necessary. When does our participation in a sport become something that doesn't glorify God? When do we cross the line? When do we make sports out to be more than what God intended?

This looks different for every athlete. There's no easy answer and it's really about every day of the week, not just Sundays. However, when it comes to Sundays, I'd encourage you to be wary of choosing to compete rather than to meet with your church family. I know this is hard...that's why it's called a choice.

You must choose.

You have a choice. Don't believe the lie. You (or your child) doesn't have to be the best or to play with the best. Or even play at all.

And what really is "best" anyways? A son who a) dominates on the basketball court or b) a son who loves to sing in the assembly? I know the answer is B, but I'd like A too. I really would!

I think it's possible to say yes to your sport and miss church...and do it in a way that glorifies God. But when your sport makes the choice for you...or you simply enjoy your sport more than you enjoy God...something is wrong. Your sport is taken away from you the very things God has saved you to enjoy. Your sport has become your idol.

P.S. Parents, your children need help making these decisions too. Don't let their coach, school, friends, or the NBA decide what's most important for them. Train them to live for God. Keep them from idols (1 John 5:19-21).