So, last night, we stayed up and watched the double-overtime game that the Arkansas Razorbacks played against Mississippi State. We were quite pleased that the Hogs won, but then Ann and I had to wind down and get to bed.
It led to a conversation on our part about things like, well, staying up late to watch football. (By the way, late? 10:00.) We both know people that would condemn the frivolity and people that will spend all day today talking about yesterday’s Hog win.
So, what’s appropriate? As with many other things, problems develop when you try to attach an absolute rule to something God Himself did not explicitly do so. Scripture speaks not one word directly on football or baseball or recreational sports in general. There is, however, a good amount of Scripture that indicates we should focus on things that draw us nearer to God. (No, praying for a gust of wind to blow left-to-right at the end of the 1st OT doesn’t count as getting closer to God.)
There are also many Proverbs that indicate wisdom is found in enjoying the good things without overdoing them. For example, homemade banana bread is good. Eating the entire thing in a day, not so good. Celebrating a Hog win yesterday is good, celebrating a Titans win today will be good, but I’ll be preaching John 4, and in seeing how that applies to what we have to be thankful for, football will likely not come up. It’s just not that important.
So, rather than try to apply a blanket rule, seek wisdom, seek the middle ground. Too often we get into fights by trying to push people to agree with us on all issues. There are some crucial ones, but whether or not you watch a football game isn’t one.
Whenever you take your own personal choices and elevate them to critical status, you’re headed into trouble. I think this is a part of what’s killing our ability to spread the Gospel as Baptists. It’s not enough to agree that without Christ, people are destined for eternal judgment, and that they must hear, repent, believe. We’ve got to insist that first all believers agree with us, and second, that any new believers agree with everything. We don’t just seek salvation from sin, but we want people to know that once they’re saved they have to become 6-day anti-yoga creationists. Now, I’m a 6-day creationist, but I like the little green guy in Star Wars. These issues shouldn’t even come up with the lost world.
A relationship with Christ is what saves, a lack of one leaves you to the condemnation your works have earned. Can we not focus on that? We’re chasing rabbits, and it’s deer season.