The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.
I am not a fan of showboating. I don’t mind the celebration after a touchdown or a slam dunk, but to then turn around and “visibly exaggerate your skills, abilities, or talents” seems a little egotistical to me.
There are showboating athletes in every major sport – football, basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer, etc. I grow weary of anyone, and especially athletes, that with subtleness or in more direct ways express to their fans, teammates and opponents that they are God’s gift to the sports world.
Could you imagine if – in the body of Christ – any time we used one of our spiritual gifts we participated in showboating?
For example, I preach regularly at Wichita Bible Church. Could you imagine after I completed my sermon or while I am drawing it to a conclusion, I started saying things like, “Wow! What a sermon I just preached! You should get the CD or download this thing as soon as you get in your car or home! Did you see how quickly I found the book of Micah when I referenced it in my sermon? And how about that tie I had on? Was that trendy or what? I got something going on here! Bet you can’t wait until I preach again next Sunday!”
Most, if not every member of my congregation, would be nauseated if I behaved in such a prideful manner on a Sunday morning. And they should be sick to their stomach. And that’s how God feels about it too (Prov 8:13).
One of the classic examples of showboating in the O.T. is Nebuchadnezzar. Remember that king of Babylon that mocked God and gloried in his own kingdom as if He built it and deserved it’s riches? (Dan 4:30)
What did God think of his showboating? He hated it so much that He sent King Neb to the wilderness to live and eat like an animal (Dan 4:31-33) even though He had warned him about this prideful escapade before it happened (Dan 4:5-27).
C.S. Lewis called pride the anti-God state of mind and the religion of hell. Pride can be a dangerous sin and will ruin your life; it did for Nebuchadnezzar. It drove him literally mad, because he worshipped himself and his own desires instead of the True God. Nebuchadnezzar has gained his heart’s desire: self-glory and righteousness. His had made his kingdom a powerful one; he has spread his influence as far as it would go. He had many people in the known world worshipping him as a god.
Pride is the sin that sovereignty cannot stand. Pride is much like plagiarism, because it takes the glory away from the one who really should get the credit.
James 4:6 says that God will stand against the man who is prideful and he will show grace to the humble man. King Neb did “learn his lesson”; he was shown grace at the end of Daniel 4 when the showboating came to an end and he humbled himself before his Creator.