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God First, Football Second

August 8th 2014 No comments yet  

706735_22088940My life revolves around football season. It is a slightly embarrassing admission, but an honest one. The date the Kansas City Chiefs open their training camp is marked on my desk calendar (I wish that was a joke), and I read updates from every single practice. I pay $20 in order to watch every NFL preseason game online. When the season finally opens the first week of September, I treat it like a personal holiday.

What do I do February through July? I am glad you asked. (Not really.) First up on the schedule is the NFL Combine in February, during which I have been known to watch NFL Draft prospects run drills. In mid-March, free agency opens, and I check Twitter every 17 seconds for three straight days to monitor players switching teams. Then, there is a significant lull until early May, when I watch the NFL Draft in its entirety for three straight evenings. In late May and early June, I read daily updates about the voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamps that constitute spring practice. In the summer, I watch the Canadian Football League.

This does not even factor in all the high school and college football I watch (which is a significant amount) or how much time I spend on fantasy football. It is fair to say my year begins the first week of September so I am eager to get August underway.

However, in looking for a young adult fellowship to get involved in, I ran into a problem. When I found a class I liked at 10:45 a.m., my first thought was “Well, that won’t work because most Chiefs games start at noon.”

Whoa. Hit the brakes, son.

It doesn’t matter if I fill up my spare time with football. It is quite a different situation to plan my time with God around it.

That thought raised a convicting question: How often do I consciously integrate God into my schedule? The sad answer is “not often.” I have mentioned this concept before, but I want to delve deeper into it: our lack of “God time” is not a time problem; it is a priority problem.

It is drilled into us early in our Christian life that spending time with God, whether reading the Bible or praying, is crucial. The traditional format we are taught is “quiet time.” You wake up before the sun says good morning, make your coffee, and read the Bible. If you can swing it, this is a wonderful way to do it. It is how my own grandfather does it, and it has worked for him for a long time.

For many of us, however, it is a victory if we remember to put real pants on in the morning. I admit that has been my excuse for failing to have quiet time with God. I am just not a morning person.

I like my sleep; that is just part of my makeup. But I am a night owl. Late at night is a just as good of an option as early morning to spend time in the Word. Instead of watching a King of Queens rerun for the 50 time, I can just as easily open my Bible.

You may not be a near insomniac like me, but you know your schedule. Despite our perceived busyness, we are not so busy that we do not have 20 to 30 minutes in our day.

The same is true of our church attendance. Maybe Sunday morning does not work for you. There are plenty of churches that have midweek and Saturday night services in the Dallas area. My aforementioned grandfather and my grandmother have been going to church on Saturday nights for over 15 years, and they remain among the godliest people I know. The point of spending time with God and other believers is not when you do it; it is making it a priority in your life.

So what to do about my dilemma? There is a whole other tangent I could go on about whether I have allowed football to become my idol. To be perfectly honest, there are times where I toe the line. We are not supposed to fill all of our lives completely with something that, in the end, has no eternal bearing. We certainly should not put it before God.

On the other hand, I also believe God gave us passions and pastimes to enjoy on this earth. A significant factor in my love of football is the time it has allowed me to spend with my dad and grandpa. Some of my most cherished friends were made playing football. The sport has given me many happy memories, and God has used it to teach me valuable lessons.

In the end, we just have to make sure we do not spend so much time on God’s gifts to us that we forget to pursue Him. As full as our lives are, they can be so much more fulfilling when we spend time with God and make Him a priority. I do not know what I will do to bring balance into my life, but I do know God is more important than Jamaal Charles.


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