filled with food, laughter, food, conversation, more food and talk of the upcoming Christmas events. It also, unfortunately, means a day of football games on the television. I hate football! What is the point? I mean, seriously. It's a bunch of guys throwing around a pigskin and jumping on each other like a bunch of wild animals. I just don't get it, but I also don't begrudge those who do. To each his own, right?
What got my attention this year, however, was the distinction between what I saw on the television on Saturday evening and what I saw in the church house on Sunday morning:
At the various games we viewed, there wasn't an empty seat in the stadium. Unfortunately, there were far too many empty seats in God's house on Sunday morning. It seems many were too tired or had other plans and couldn't spare a couple of hours to meet with the Lord of the universe.
The fans at the games were excited and spent more time on their feet cheering their team than they did sitting in the seat for which they'd paid a good amount of money. On Sunday morning, churches across the country were occupied by those who checked their watches, counting down the minutes until lunch time or their much-needed afternoon nap. Not only were people not on their feet, but excitement and encouragement were lacking as well. There may have been an occasional holy grunt, or perhaps that was just a bit of indigestion left over from Thanksgiving dinner.
My social media pages were slammed full for several days before and after the long-awaited games with information on who won and by how much. Stats, bragging rights, taunts and even bets. It seemed like that was all anyone could talk about. I didn't, however, see one post about church. What was planned? What happened? How was the sermon? Did the spirit move in on the service? No, it seems most were too busy talking about football to mention the happenings at God's house.
What is wrong with this picture? Why is it we can find the time and energy and motivation to go to sporting events, cheer on the team, clog up our social media with talk of the latest and greatest sports events or figures, yet we can't seem to gather enough initiative to make it to church? And if we do go, we sit there with our arms folded, our lips pursed and our hearts closed to the working of God. We're distracted. We're unmoved by God's presence. We're bored. We have no voice left to praise God on Sunday because we used it up shouting at the television on Saturday.
Just as with Black Friday, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with sports or with following sporting events. But there is definitely a problem when we spend more time and energy talking about sports than we do in spreading the gospel. What would our churches be like if people were as excited to be there as they are to be at a football game? How powerful would the preaching of the pastor be if the people cheered him on like they do the players on the field? How much would God be lifted up if we spent as much time preparing for Sunday services as we did getting ready for game day? How much would our churches grow spiritually if the members knew their Bibles as well as they knew the game stats and various players? I think it would blow our minds! I can only hope and pray that one day we'll find out.