So what is the big deal about sports?
Can participating in sports be a worshipful experience?
Can my kids bring glory to God through sports?
Listen to the words of Paul…
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1
I have a dear friend of mine who allowed me to see the above verse in different light. His name is James and he played with the New York Jets for seven years. I remember participating in a Prayer Conference for the New York Jets when the word “worship” came up. Many had the same definition of worship that included guitar and voices, but then James mentioned that he believed what he was doing, playing football, was worship. He played football because God gave him the ability to do so and he was using it in the lives of others on the Jets and the many fans that followed them. He felt this was his gift and he was using the opportunity to be a light.
Sports can be worshipful when we make it about Jesus.
What about the physical benefits of sports?
Can fitness bring glory to God?
There is an upward trend in obesity in children from ages 2-19. According to the American Heart Association, our children are becoming more and more obese.
“The prevalence of obesity in children ages 2-5 increased from 4.8 percent in 1971-74 to 12.1 percent in 2009-2010. For 6–11 year old children, the prevalence of obesity increased from 4.0 percent in 1971–74 to 18.0 percent in 2009–10. The prevalence of overweight in adolescents ages 12–19 increased from 6.1 percent to 18.4 percent.”
What is the contributing factor of the upward trend in obesity in our children? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the contributing factors for obesity in children are;
“eating high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, not getting enough physical activity, sedentary activities such as watching television or other screen devices, medication use, and sleep routines.”
While participating in sports, students are more likely to eat healthier, spend less time in front of the iPhone, media or other technology, and spend more time in physical activity. With the good things sports and fitness does for the body, kids can be thankful for the physical strength and abilities God gives them and use their bodies more fully for God's glory.
Let's keep it all in perspective.
In reality, your amazing nine year old, who throws the perfect spiral pass, may love his favorite NFL team, but what are his chances to play in the NFL? There are approximately 1.1 million high school football players in the U.S., 72,000 make it to NCAA, while only 256 are drafted by the NFL each year.
Why do I share these statistics?
It is important for our students who participate in sports to continue when it gets difficult, to make every practice, learn how to lose and win, and become a team player. As parents, it is our job to help them keep focused and encourage our children to be committed and do their best for God's glory and not ours.
To bring sports into perspective, I close with a quote from John Wooden, who won 10 National Championships while at UCLA:
"I always tried to make clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere." — John Wooden