Is sports actually a religion? Some sports writers think so. One wrote: "Our passions, our obsessions and our recreations have become counterfeit religions." Another writer wrote: "Sports is fast becoming Amenica's newest folk religion."
Most sporting events are attended by people with "religious" regularity and devotion. For many people sports has become an addiction, especially with the trusty cable hook-up bringing to people every sport under the Sun. Sports as such are NOT EVIL, but multitudes have been overcome by the vain glory, egotism, and Idolatry that poison much of modern sports.
The original Saints did not play in New Orleans; they prayed in Jerusalem. Their zeal for Christ made them known as fanatics, from which we get our word "fan." Our word "enthusiasm'" comes from the extreme devotion of the early Christians and originally meant "God within." Their great champion, the Apostle Paul, often figuatively used the word arena and compared the Christian life to a great athletic endeavor.
A Christian should be a fan (fanatic) for Jesus. Every Sunday should be a Super Bowl for saints as they battle Satan with all the zeal of Christ and the first-century church. Look at some of the characteristics and compare that with the Christian life.
1. FANS ARRIVE EARLY. They seldom wander in during the third inning or the second quarter. In church some seem to straggle in and straggle out.
2. FANS DON'T CARE WHEN THEY GET HOME. They love extra innings and sudden death overtime. They're not pew warmers worried about pot roasts and beating other church goers to Golden Corral or Bonanza.
3. FANS ARE VOCAL. They don't sit and spectate. They participate.
4. FANS CAN ENDURE ANYTHING. Football at 40 below zero. Basketball when it is hot enough to boil a bat's brain. Some spectators at Sunday services are too much like the farmer's pump: froze up in the winter and dried up in the Summer.
5. FANS WANT THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE. The closer to the action, the better. But at the house of God, it is a different story. The farther they are from the action the better they like it.
6. FANS NEVER MISS A GAME. They will see It in person. watch a replay on television, and then read about It in the newspaper. And they can't wait to get to work to talk about it again. Sunday saints arrive grudgingly listen sparingly, and leave hurriedly God knows they're not fans.
7. FANS KNOW ALL THE STATISTICS. Listen to the radio talk shows and you'll find that fans know all the trivia statistics about hundreds of ball players. Some of God's most loyal onlookers can't name three of the 12 disciples.
Something is seriously wrong when you can get excited about a ball sailing over a fence, but wish you could find an excuse to miss church. If following Christ means less excitement that a field goal, you're not a 'fan'. The world can be reached for Christ but not until some long standing members of the church convert into real fans.