Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Sure, he's a prophet, but can he run the spread offense?
My friend Ross Tucker in Arizona and I Skype-chat about football when we are not chatting about matters of faith (hold the comments, please).
Ross followed up with an email, which was about a particular NFL player but could be about any number of pro and collegiate athletes:
"You know…I find it really funny or interesting when athletes point to the sky when things happen their way in sports, but when things don’t go their way in a game…the stop... XXXXX was pointing to the sky towards the end of the game when they made that comeback as if to say, 'God is helping me win this game' or whatever what was going through his mind. Although, I love it when athletes show their faith during games and it’s great…why wasn’t he pointing to the sky when things weren’t going their way any longer?
Come on XXXXX…what changed in your faith between when things were going well and then not so well?!?!?!?!? Why wasn’t he pointing to the sky when they lost the game?"
God's people should be giving glory in all circumstances. Paul knew how to "point to the sky" - "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:12-13)
My favorite example of "pointing to the sky" is the Prophet Habakkuk from the Old Testament:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (3:17-18)
Like Ross, I like it when athletes acknowledge God's grace in their accomplishments. It moves me when groups of players kneel to pray for an injured opponent. But how about that next step - to glorify God in loss? Anglicans in particular should find this natural, with our emphasis on sanctifying all seasons of life in worship.
But for any number of reasons, we don't do much of that sky-pointing in the church, either. And if we can't, why should anybody else?