Summary: We have to play game of life even though we get hurt.
INTRO..- ILL.-A college football coach walked into the locker room before a game, looked over to his star player and said, “I’m not supposed to let you play since you failed math, but we need you in this game. So, what I have to do is ask you a math question and if you get it right, you can play.”
The player agreed, and the coach looked into his eyes intently and asked him, “Ok, now concentrate hard and tell me the answer to this question. What is two plus two?”
The player thought for a moment and then he answered, “It’s four.” “Did you say four?” the coach exclaimed in pleasure.
At that, all the other players on the team began screaming, “COME ON COACH, GIVE HIM ANOTHER CHANCE!”
It’s Super Sunday! And for all football fans, that means Super Bowl Sunday! But for the Christian, every Sunday should be Super Sunday and that’s because of the One we assemble to remember and honor! The Lord Jesus Christ!
Why all this excitement about football and football players? What’s going on? Has football become our national pastime? Could be. Or has football become a god to us? For some, it has.
ILL.- I read an article just the other day entitled, “Addicted to Baseball.” (Or it could be football or any other sport). The author Mary Roach wrote, “According to the book NOT NOW, HONEY, I’M WATCHING THE GAME, my husband is addicted to baseball. I, in turn, am addicted to my husband, Ed. This means that 5 or 6 times a year I accompany him to the ballpark, though I care nothing about the San Francisco Giants and understand few subtleties of the game. I would love it if my husband were addicted to me rather than to Dusty Baker and his merry spitting men... “ Ouch! Sound familiar?
Any sport can become addictive and idolatrous. Now the other side of the coin is this.
I Corinthians 10:31 Paul said, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
I believe in this verse very much. We should try to glorify God in everything we do, including the sports we enjoy watching on TV or participate in. And I believe that we can honor and glorify the Lord in them!
ILL.- Many people have seen the popular movie CHARIOTS OF FIRE of 1981 which received the “Best Picture” Oscar. It was said that Eric Liddell trained for months with the idea of winning the 100 yard footrace at the 1924 Olympics. Many sportswriters predicted that he would win. He had already won the 100 and 220-yard races in Scotland, England and Ireland. He joined the British team for the 1924 Olympics in Paris.
When Liddell learned that the qualifying heats for the 100 yard dash were on Sunday, he dropped out of this, his best event. He believed he could not honor the Lord by running on Sunday. His fans were stunned by his refusal to run. Some who had praised him, now called him a fool. BUT ERIC LIDDELL STOOD FIRM.
Liddell entered the 400 yard dash but instead of participating in the heats, he preached a sermon at a Paris church. The 400 was not what he had trained for, but he ran anyway. He finished the race 5 yards ahead of his nearest competitor and set a new world record of 47.6 seconds! That was a victory that he attributed to the Lord.
Following the Olympics in 1924, Eric Liddell went to the mission field in China. Dr. David Michell who knew Eric Liddell after he was captured by the Japanese and put in their prison camp, said of him, “None of us will ever forget this man who was totally committed to putting God first, a man whose humble life combined muscular Christianity with radiant godliness.
“What was his secret? He unreservedly committed his life to Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord. That friendship meant everything to him. By the flickering light of a peanut-oil lamp early each morning he and a roommate in the men’s cramped dormitory studied the Bible and talked with God for an hour every day.
“As a Christian Eric Liddell’s desire was to know God more deeply, and as a missionary, to make Him known more fully.”
Brethren, you just have to admire a man like Eric Liddell. A man who stood strong in his faith in Christ in spite of being an Olympic champion runner and in spite of being imprisoned during WW II.
Matthew 6:33 Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous....”
If we put the Lord Jesus first in our lives then He will be first on the Lord’s Day! And that’s exactly what Eric Liddell did!