Obviously this is Super Bowl weekend. Just as obviously, CH Spurgeon lived long before the first NFL championship game. However, he was well aware of the “amusements” that most men gave their time and attention to, so I can speculate with some accuracy that what he said of those amusements could be applied to our current “event.”
While there is nothing wrong with sporting events, I think it would be wise for Christians to consider how much emphasis they place on them, and how we go about celebrating them.
We all know that many churches will not have services tomorrow because of the high holy hogskin hoopla. Others will have services, but only around the game schedule. Others still, like us, will have regular services but know in advance that attendance will be way down.
Now, again, there is nothing wrong with football or baseball or hockey or racing, etc. I love all those. I love the World Series, the Daytona 500, and yes even the Super Bowl. But what does it say of our priority when we place greater passion and concern over a worldly amusement than the worship of a holy God?
I know, I’m just one of those hyper-critical, over-zealous, anti-fun guys. Maybe. Or maybe I just think Christians’ values and priorities ought to be different than the worlds. We all know that there are things going on during this game, during all the celebrations, during all the commercials, that should make the average Christ-lover blush. But we don’t blush. We go along with the crowd, taking in the same enjoyment, etc.
Back the Spurgeon. In a message on Luke 24:5, and the idea of seeking the living among the dead, he suggests that if we put our focus on happiness and entertainment in this world, it’s the equivalent of seeking the living among the dead. Again, he never knew the Super Bowl. But might he address these same words to us?
It is sadder still, and this sometimes occurs, when the professor tries to cheer his heart by the silly vanities of worldly amusement, There are a thousand inlets to happiness which you may look upon as free to your use: you are as welcome to enjoy them as other men. Whatsoever it be that is pure and lovely, and uncorrupted with sin, is as much yours as it is the portion of any other people under the sun. Yours are the beauties of nature, the wonders of God’s handiwork, and the vast domain of creation, wherein are things innumerable to please the eye, to charm the ear, and make the heart to heave with joy. Learn to use without abusing the bounties which Providence has placed within your reach, and pray that thedelights they are capable of yielding may be sanctified to your good.
But there are sundry amusements, so frivolous and trifling, that if they are not in themselves sinful, they verge upon that border-land where diversion is separated from dissipation by only a faint line; and as the border-land is always the most infested by thieves and robbers, it is well to beware of it... Oh! shall you that have once leaned your heads upon the bosom of Christ profane your hearts with this wanton wicked world? Shall you that have once eaten angels’ food hanker after the diet of fools, and drink the intoxicating wine-cup of their pleasures? Shall you be seen in the assembly where none congregate but the lightest of the light, and the gayest of the gay? Shame upon you, Christian! You have disgraced your profession; you have disgraced yourself; you are seeking the living, not only amongst the dead, but among the rotten and corrupt...
Thus, Christian, while I say to you, do not seek lasting comfort in earthly things, I am compelled to say to some who bear the name and wear the profession of Christians, do not seek your joy at all among the unprofitable sports and gambols in which some men delight. It is seeking the living among the dead.
I know I’m probably taking some things out of context here, but so much of this applies. Examine your own hearts. Why is it that you do what you do in “celebrating” the Super Bowl or other worldly delight? Is God truly glorfied in the event, in the company kept, in the activities surrounding it? If not, why are we willing to put His worship aside in order to “partake?”
Well, I’m sure that won’t change anyone’s minds. And maybe it’s not nearly as big a deal as I’m making of it. I just truly wish the average Christian was as excited about being rescued out of darkness into His glorious light as we are about going to the pigskin palace. As for me and my house, by His grace we will seek His glory first.