Does God Care About Sports?
Tonight I was checking on the score to the Denver Broncos game. I watched a few minutes of the 3rd quarter as it ended with Denver down 10-0. For some reason I knew that Denver would win. A little later I checked back on the game with a few minutes to go. Denver was still down 10-0. But, I still knew that they would win.
A few years ago Florida lost to Ole Miss and everyone except for the Gators rejoiced. In hindsight everyone else might have wished that Tebow and the Gators had won the game and not had to regroup and refocus. It was after that game on September 27, 2008 that Tim Tebow spoke these words which are now memorialized outside of “The Swamp:”
“To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida has never done here. I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God Bless.”
That speech became known as “The Promise.” And Tebow kept his word. For the next year and a half Tebow and the Gators put on a show that I can’t think of anything to compare it to in the years I've watched sports. Yes, Tebow did lose one game after that speech, the SEC championship against Alabama. Then he followed it up by putting an old fashioned beat down on Cincinnati in a BCS bowl and having statistically the best game of his career. As a college player his best game was his final game. Tebow was a game winner, a conference winner, a championship winner, a Heisman winner… Tebow is a winner.
So, tonight I checked back in on the game with Denver down 10-0 and I knew they would win. Why? Because their quarterback is a winner. From what I could tell by looking at a 3.5” phone screen, Tebow had done nothing most of the night. When it came down to the end though, Tebow and the Broncos put together a drive that could only be called “Tebow Time.” Their defense got the ball back into the hands of the Bronco offense and the unorthodox quarterback with a horrible throwing motion who never will make it in the NFL did what winners do. Win. The Broncos tied the game with a 59 yard field goal. The Bears got the ball first in overtime and looked to be on their way to victory as they moved down the field. That is, until they fumbled the ball into the hands of the Broncos. Tebow drives, the Broncos kick the game winning field goal in overtime, Tebow tells all of TV land that he thanks his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the media cringes, and ESPN headlines the game recap, “Tebow did it again.”
I wonder… Does God really care about sports? With all that’s going on in the world does he really care about a football game? Most of my saved life I would answer that question with a no. Tonight I changed my belief on that. I’ve read in the Bible and preached from the Bible that God notices, guides, and is present in the life of those who are his born again children. If that applies to those who are gifted with the ability to minister, preach, teach, and evangelize for the glory of God could it also apply to someone gifted with athletic ability using that ability to glorify God?
I’ve preached before that God is concerned with all areas of our life no matter how big or small they are. I’ve said that God guides our steps so that we can make a difference in the lives of people. Tonight I looked into the Bible at those same verses realizing that they don’t just apply to someone preaching at a little church in the mountains, making tires in a factory, testing parts in a plant, or raising kids in a home. The same verses that the seemingly unknown Christian can take comfort in also apply to a young man playing football on one of the biggest platforms in the world.
Psalm 1 is a familiar passage that speaks of the walk, testimony, and spiritual life of a blessed man. It goes on to say that “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 says that whatever you do, do it with all your might. The New Testament in Colossians 3:23 says that whatsoever we do we should do it with our heart as if the Lord himself was giving the directions instead of the boss/coach/leader. The same chapter says a few verses earlier in verse 17 that after we have done our task we should give thanks to God in the name of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Lastly, 3rd John 5 states whatever we do, we should do it faithfully.
So whatever lot we have in life, whatever we do for a living, whether our stage is a packed stadium or a half filled church, here’s the formula for success: Have a walk, testimony, and spiritual life that God can use. Then do whatever you do with all your might. Perform your task as if Jesus was bodily watching and observing. Do it for the glory of God and not your own glory. Thank God in the name of Jesus for the opportunity. Faithfully do week in and week out whatever it is you do.
Could it be that the reason Tim Tebow is doing what nobody said he could do and defying the odds week after week is because he’s found the formula that God wants all of us to follow? Maybe God does care about a football game. As a matter of fact I bet that God cares about football as much as he cares about auto parts, clothing stores, dental offices, calculus lessons, or whatsoever else we might do. Maybe in the end God is not so much concerned with what we do or where we do it, as he is with how and why we do what we do.