By Diana Shaw
January 17, 2014
I must have “hit a nerve” in some people with last week’s article about our kids playing sports on Sunday morning. I had a pretty good response: some were okay with the idea and others were not. One person told me that her Bible says that “where two or three are gathered together, the Lord is right there too.” She went on to say that sports and God could and should go together and it was apparent that she did not have any problem with kids not being in church on Sunday morning. I wonder if she would have a problem with kids not being in school on Monday morning — if they had to make up a game and Monday morning was the only time they could do it? How about having school on the ball diamond or on the football field or beside the community pool so the kids could also play their sports? That shouldn’t present any problems. If it’s okay for kids to miss church, it should be okay for them to miss school.
Once again, I didn’t write the article, it was posted on Facebook by a pastor friend of mine and he didn’t write it either. He simply forwarded the article so people could read it. It was not members of my congregation who were at the game either. Our members do not like the idea of sports being played on Sunday any more than I do. And here’s the thing that concerns me: when I was growing up, sports were not played on Sunday morning and when my kids were growing up, Beth and I didn’t have to worry about missing church or missing a ball game. This idea of having sports on Sunday morning has crept in, like a snake in tall grass, and has taken over to the point where parents don’t think they have choice in the matter. Guess what? You do.
I wish every parent was as concerned about the spiritual well-being of their children as they were their athletic well-being. I wish parents would get together and tell the coaches or those who schedule sports on Sunday that their kids were not going to participate. I can tell you this…if we had a child who was involved in a sports program, and that game was scheduled for Sunday, our kids would not be there. Only when the parents take a stand against this idea, will something happen to correct it.
There is no valid reason to take kids out of Sunday school and church for any kind of sports or for any game. Period. There…I said it. And I don’t care who likes it. Sports on Sunday is wrong and I can only hope that one day, parents will take a stand to change what is taking place. I know that sports on the high school level and in college and then the NFL is big money. And I think that deep down, parents are hoping their child will be good enough to get a scholarship to college and then be good enough to be picked for the pros. It’s an issue of pride and greed. Pride, in that we want our kids to “be the best.” Better than Johnny so our kids can play in the game more often. And greed in that we hope our kids will get into the pros, and make enough money to help mom and dad out. Maybe let dad retire before age 65.
And that’s one of the things that is wrong with our world today. We put other things before God. Listen…if playing ball is okay and if “two or more people gathered brings the Lord’s presence” than let’s close down church, shut the doors, cancel Sunday service and I’ll see you n the golf course. There’s “two or more people” on the golf course. There’s “two or more people” at the beach. There’s “two or more” people at the ski slopes. If that’s the case, we don’t even need church. But here’s the thing: when I go to play a game of golf, I don’t go to the golf course to worship God. I don’t go to the beach to worship God. I don’t go skiing to worship God. I can admire the beautiful things that God has created, but I don’t go there to worship him. I go there to have fun and do what I want to do.
God says in Hebrews 10:25…“Do not forsake the assembly of yourselves together.” He is speaking about being in church on the Lord’s day. Putting Him first and not sports or recreation or entertainment or anything else. Do you understand that if anything comes between you and God, it is closer to God than you are.
It’s time to put God first in our lives again. And maybe if we do, our kids will see a different mom and a different dad, and maybe…just maybe…our kids will grow up with a reverent sense of God and they will be faithful in supporting their church too. We’re only one generation away from being a pagan nation. And many things are vying for the attention of our kids today. Sports is one of them and it’s time to stand up and say, “Enough.”
I hope you will pray about this. Ask yourself if you are keeping the Lord’s day holy. If putting sports or anything else before God is the right thing to do. And have the difficult conversation with your kids and with their coach. Maybe if enough parents stood together, instead of standing on a ball field, the family could be standing together in the house of the Lord, worshiping God on Sunday morning. That would be a new idea. And that is Something To Think About for this week.