Sports: Gift or God?

 When I first got this little booklet, Don’t Waste Your Sports, I have to admit I thought it was going to be cheesy.  However, I was pleasantly surprised: it is quite good.  In fact, I highly recommend it for Christians who are involved in sports (parents, high schoolers, fans, coaches, etc.). 

For one example, many of us know the difficulties and discussions of sports and the Christian family.  I don’t want to start a big debate, but it is a tragedy when Christian parents are more concerned about their kid’s jump shot or swing than they are his godliness and Christian character.  It is sad to see some Christian schools more focused on sports than the scriptures.  It is depressing to see some Christian parents cuss out refs for a bad call.  It is a tragedy that sports have become an idol to which many Christians bow.  Here are some questions Mahaney says we should ask to see if sports are idols in our lives.

1) Am I preoccupied with sports?  Are they what I think about and talk about more than anything else?

2) Are sports where my mind goes when I don’t have anything else to think about?

3) Are my most passionate conversations always about sports?

4) Do I have an excessive passion for a particular team?  Am I euphoric when they win, and depressed when they lose? 

5) Is my passion for a team, or for playing a particular sport, greater than my passion for Jesus Christ? For my family? For my church?  When your church gathers, are you there?  Or does the sports schedule trump the church calendar?

Those are some great questions to help in tearing down idols in our lives.  Another aspect I appreciated is how Mahaney encourages parents to commend their children for godly Christian character on the field more than the great play he/she made.  He says it this way.

“Sports are a classroom for our children.  Through sports we can teach our children to grow in godliness on the field.  God has called you and equipped you to transfer biblical principles to your children, and sports are one means to that end.”

I’ll be getting a few extra copies of this little booklet to give out to my Christian friends/family who are interested in sports.  I recommend you do the same!

The above quotes were taken from various places in this little booklet: C. J. Mahaney, Don’t Waste Your Sports (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011).  FYI: It’s just $2.99 at the WTS bookstore.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

3 thoughts on “Sports: Gift or God?”

  1. Oh wow … killer! With my newly found addiction to professional cycling, I think this read might help me to balance out a bit! I’m afraid I had to answer yes to a couple of the questions posed by Mahaney above!!! ARGH!

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    1. You said addiction – well stated! Yes, it is a helpful book for me too – I enjoy baseball quite a bit and have some boys who do as well. Our prayer is that we keep baseball a game and not a god in our family. The balance, as you said, is key.

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  2. Sounds like a good book. I’ll have to pick it up. My wife and I were just thinking about getting our son into some sports soon. I could imagine the principles applying in other areas too like music lessons and other activities our children are involved in.

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