WE all know that sport is an integral part of God’s creation. We all know also that Jesus instructed His disciples to follow Him and become ‘fishers of men’.
Bible Society of Eswatini believes that God can use anybody in any position to bring glory to His name as Colossians 3:17 says ‘and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’, thus doing exactly that too, by using sports as a fishing net, and the ‘how’ will be outlined in coming weeks.
Ever asked yourself as to why players or teams pray before games? And why do they thank God after winning a match/tournament? Strangely enough, no matter how soccer, in particular, has been shrouded by controversy of muti, violence, drugs, fouls, cheating, players still find time to either ask God for a win or thank Him for it.
Just to recap on the controversies surrounding sport, last week we indicated that like any aspect of God’s creation, sport has been distorted from its original purpose because of sin. Sin is not something ‘out there’ as if sport is the problem; sin is an internal disposition we all have, to reject God and to distort His good creation.
We now use our talents to seek our glory rather than to play to God’s glory.
We damage our relationships through cheating instead of playing fair; sin infects sport just as it does every area of human life. God doesn’t want sport to remain tainted by sin, and that’s why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be a substitute (a concept every sportsperson gets).
Victory through sports unveils the depths of a desire in the momentary happiness felt when teams win, along with emptiness that ensues when the victory inevitably passes.
Though some may not admit it, but in essence, the desire to be victors stems from the realisation that something is terribly amiss, that we need to be made right again.
In every human heart, there is that innate desire for victory, and this applies in any project undertaken, fortunately for us, God created us to root for the win and not a lose.
While the God-given desire to share in this common goal can be fully understood by believers, the love of the game that humans share is proof that God created us to unite in a sole purpose: the pursuit of bringing Him glory.
It is the love of the game that naturally brings sports fans together, shared interests!! It’s not the least bit weird to high-five or hug a person you have never met before if it’s done in the context of a stadium, but try this in a shop or street and see how you’d be labeled.
The unity between the players and fans is a clear reflection of how God created human beings to share in a common goal as Acts 2:44 states ‘all the believers were together and had everything in common.’
Such act actually runs far deeper than the momentary happiness felt when our team of choice wins.
Our love for the game reflects spiritual realities about the God who created us, who He created us to be and what He intends us to pursue and enjoy.
Beyond the ultimate earthly picture to share a common goal, the common goal of worshipping Christ our King in every field He has put us in, points to an eternal time when believers of every nation, tribe, and tongue will bow before Him in humility and exalt His name forever as Revelation 7:9 says: ‘after this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.
These stood before the throne and before the Lamb they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.’
God understands sport as a tool for bringing people together, in good and to celebrate with thankfulness in their hearts to Him and as we involve ourselves in sport, it should be clear that the body used is the temple of the Holy Spirit and thus worship is still tied to the temple, for wherever our bodies go, there is a sphere of worship.