I am on record as someone who enjoys sports. And I value sports opportunities for my kids. Pushing yourself and being a part of a team provide an assortment of opportunities for character development. But I also believe that we need to be mindful of our culture’s fixation and idolization of sports. Sports (or any other activity for that matter) must be kept in its proper place.
One of the clearest indicators that sports has become a god is when it usurps corporate worship. Instead of gathering with God’s people for worship on the Lord’s Day, we give that time to something else. Jim Elliff exposes this sad reality in his cleverly titled article, “When Ball Becomes Baal.”
Some might say, “The team needs me.” But have you thought about the fact that Christ’s team needs you too? The church is weakened by the sporadic attendance patterns of half-hearted believers. Some might say, “The coach expects me to be there and there will be consequences if I don’t come.” But have you considered that God expects you to be there for corporate worship as well and there are much more serious consequences if you neglect this gathering (Hebrews 10:25)?
We have generally found coaches to be respectful if we state our family’s convictions up front. There have been times when it cost our kids playing time, however, and we have gladly accepted that as a consequence of following Jesus.
As parents, you have to be honest about what you are communicating about your faith. Kids are very perceptive and they can see through what you say to discern your true priorities. If Christ and his church are a secondary priority for you right now, don’t be surprised if your kids walk away from their faith altogether when they reach adulthood.
Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/catcher-baseball-youth-sport-ball-632974/