With football season well underway, hearing about “fans being on fire” is pretty common. Our pastor is a fanatic about football, but when he was preaching about “fire” on Sunday, he could have been asking us if we were fans of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, Christians as a whole have lost their fire for the Gospel. If we have a burning passion, it would more likely be for dark chocolate or some forbidden fruit.
Watching sports fans on TV or in person is an interesting study. Here’s what I notice:
- They wear their team’s colors
- They stand and cheer rather than sit and watch
- They don’t mind being in a crowded stadium
- It’s easy to pick them out in any crowd
- Any negative talk about their team is likely to begin a brawl
- Money is no object when it comes time for the big games
There are parallels to be drawn between this fanatical fire for the San Francisco Giants (yes, I’m more about baseball than football) and the Holy Spirit inspired fire that should be burning inside of God’s children.
- Team Colors: Do Christians have colors? They should have true colors. They should be true blue – always believed because they’d never lie and loyal until their last breath.
- Stand and cheer or sit and watch? If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve heard the term “pew warmer.” Well, in sports the bench warmer doesn’t get any playing time. As for fans, any person who sits and watches their team isn’t as dedicated to the cause as those who are standing and cheering. The least we can do is cheer our fellow believers on. It would be even better if we stood beside them, sharing the message of hope with the world around us.
- They don’t mind being in a crowded stadium. When was the last time the church building was crowded with people who were cheering that their names were written in Heaven?
- It’s easy to pick them out in any crowd. Is it easy to tell you’re a Christian? If you looked in a mirror or watched yourself on hidden camera, would your actions mark you as “peculiar”? We act more like undercover agents than fired-up fans of our Savior.
- Negative talk about their team: This is the one that bums me out the most. Will we jump on the negative bandwagon when our brothers and sisters in Christ are under verbal fire? Or will we go on the defensive? It’s a fifty-fifty proposition, depending on our mood that day.
If we don’t join in, we nod and pull a pious face and pretend this gossip is really a prayer request. I think the saying my mother drilled into me as a child should be put into practice in churches: “If you don’t have anything nice to say… (come on and say it with me now, I know you’ve heard it) don’t say anything at all.”
I could do with a little more peace and quiet.
- Money is no object when it comes time for the big games. When the offering plate is passed, though, it’s a whole different matter. If we hear of someone unable to pay their doctor bill or electric bill, are we as willing to shell out $100 to help them? You can hardly get two poor seats at a regular NBA game for that amount of money – which says nothing about the parking fees and refreshment costs.
What do you think? Is there something in this world that people are more passionate about than sports? What lights your fire?