What Can We Learn From our Country’s Love of Sports?

Categories: Pastor's Blog

Our country seems to have quite a fascination of sports. I have to admit that I have been a fan of most all sports since I can remember but I’ve always enjoyed football more than any other sport. Maybe it’s because I played so much of it. I started playing organized football in 4th grade and was privileged to play in college as well. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that a kid that likes football and grew up in Seattle would be Sea- hawk fan. I was nervous this year as people picked the Seahawks to do so well. Expectation is usually the kiss of death to Seattle teams. But they fought all season and did what no other Seahawk team had ever done, brought home a Super Bowl win.

Don’t get me wrong, I was excited the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, but I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that started to come over me after they won the NFC Championship. As happy as I felt, I recognized a level of fervor in the fan base that seemed out of place. You’ve heard people ask why do we cheer at sporting events yet are quiet as church mice on Sunday morning at church? My desire isn’t to make you feel guilty today but to make you think. The Seahawks run to the Super Bowl has reminded me of two legendary seasons in Seattle sports that I think can shed some light on things the Church can learn from sports.

I was 13 years old in 1979 and remember with amazing clarity the Sonics two year run to the NBA Champi- onship. As a young impressionable teen I looked up to these athletes and wanted to be like them. I would practice my fade away Downtown Freddy Brown shot along with a turn around, awkward behind the head shot of Jack Sikma. I would call my shots in the tones and words of the voice of the Sonics, Bob Blackburn. I was literally a follower, or as we would say in the Church, a disciple of the Sonics. Got me thinking……..do our kids spend enough time around a variety of people of varying ages that love God. They need to see other people besides their parents who live a life of holiness that they can look up to and want to be like. It’s important to their spiritual development to have people they can look up to. I can tell you of people in my life that were giants of the faith in my eyes as a child… that loved on me and encouraged me to keep seeking after God. As a child I could tell they had genuine joy and I wanted to be like them. They may not have had a great turn around jumper but they exuded a love of God and there is nothing more compelling than a surrendered life.

1995 was a year like none other. The Mariners had never been to the playoffs and after threatening to make a run for a wild card berth they actually made one of the all time amazing runs and won the division. In their first playoff series against the dreaded Yankees (sorry Pastor Bill) they lost the first two games. Their mantra all year had been “Refuse to Lose” and they were not going to cave in. They won each of the next three games to win the best of 5 game series. The city of Seattle had already been ecstatic about making the playoffs and now the M’s had one their first and only playoff series in amazing come-from- behind fashion. People would high five strangers on the street if they were wearing a Mariner jersey and hat. A common goal had brought a huge metropolitan city together. I’ve been a part of several churches in my life and there have been some amazing times of unity of purpose but far too often it seems to me that we let minutia divide us into opposing camps. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT. It’s not how flashy our building or sign looks, it’s doesn’t matter what instruments we play or even the volume of the music, it’s not how well the pastor preaches or how nice our webpage looks that will show people that we are disciples of the one true God. They will know it by our love for each other. If we allow it, there is much that will divide us. Jesus called us to love him and others and to make disciples of the nations. Pretty simple mandate really. I’m all in. How about you?

You are loved,

Pastor Donavon