Throwing a penalty flag for “the unnecessary worship of false gods”

Please read the following disclaimer (that is, confession) before proceeding:  With the beginning of the National Football League’s season, I must confess I’ve been a Detroit Lions fan my whole life. You know I am a football fan if I publically admit to cheering for the Motor City Kitties. The Lions have never won a championship in my lifetime (LIFETIME!).  In fact, in my 49 years they have won exactly one playoff game.  And I’m still a Lions fan.  One time I was in a grocery store in Lenexa wearing a Detroit Lions T-shirt and the teenage grocery bagger (thinking he was being a smarty pants) said, “I bet you are the only person in Kansas City wearing a Detroit Lion’s shirt.”  To which I one upped him and replied, “Listen kid, I could be in Detroit and I would still be the only one wearing this shirt.”   To be a Lions fan is to be a hardcore football fan.

My confession not withstanding and with much fear, trembling and gnashing of teeth on the prospect of alienating my fellow football fan friends (how’s that for alliteration), I must confess that we (and too often that “we” is “me”) put too much emphasis on the high and holy pigskin.  Idols were not just for knuckleheaded Baal worshippers in the Old Testament.  There are plenty of idols today– and football for many is one of them.

I’m not advocating a boycott of the NFL.  I am not saying that watching or going to NFL games in sinful (well, unless you are an Oakland Raiders fan.  Ha!).  I’m not saying that anyone is going to hell because of fantasy football (25% of my fantasy football team roster are Detroit Lions.  File that bit of info under the heading:  “Some people never learn”).  All I am saying is that too often we get dangerously close to making a god out of a game.

So as we are about to embark upon another football season, I offer this caution to myself and every other starry eyed, “this-year-is-our-Super-Bowl” dreamer:  Keep God first.

Think of me as a referee  throwing a preemptive, penalty flag.  Visualize a graying Detroit Lions fan, walking to the middle of the field dressed out in a NFL referee black and white striped shirt; whistle around my neck; and speaking to a full stadium, “We have a 15 yard life penalty on #57 of the Christian team for unnecessarily worshipping a false god.  This action results in a loss of devotion to God and if it continues unabated to the pearly gates could lead to non entry.”

Throughout this football season (and every season of life) keep God in his proper place.  Do not allow a game, an activity, a hobby, a job, a person or the pursuit of money or happiness or anything else dominate your thoughts so that you no longer give proper worship, adoration, devotion, time, energy and praise to God Almighty.

Please remember: football is a game and God is God.   That is all– you may now continue viewing  Sportscenter for the latest news on Tim Tebow. Thank you.

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