Sports fans are sometimes as entertaining as the sporting event itself.
Tune into a sporting event on T.V. and you may see a middle-aged man with his entire body painted in his favorite team’s colors. You may see a group of young people with matching T-shirts and individual letters on each shirt spelling a word that relates to an athlete or team. You may see a woman in the stands shouting profanities at the referees, the opposing team or other fans. You may see a little boy or little girl getting so emotional about their team’s loss that they are shedding tears uncontrollably.
Sports fans react in so many ways to sporting events. And many, if not most of them, only behave in these certain ways for their sports teams. They don’t behave in the same way at a wedding or family dinner.
I enjoy the creative loyalty that sports fan express, as long as it is not displeasing to the Lord in some ways (e.g., crude language on a sign, shouting vulgarities, etc.).
Every now and then, someone will criticize the enthusiasm of sports fans (especially that are Christians) and say something like this: “If only people would get as excited about the Lord Jesus Christ as they do their favorite sports team.”
I get that sports can become an idol and we can give far too much attention to man than we do God. I get that we can invest crazy amounts of money in watching sports and give very little to the Lord’s work. I get the analogy that is being used.
But frankly, when it comes to the gathering of a local church, I don’t want that same kind of sports fan loyalty and enthusiasm in the building, and I don’t believe God would either.
I don’t believe God wants church attendees heckling people on stage to try to get in the mind of someone and force them to behave in a certain manner (I Corinthians 13:5).
I don’t believe God wants church attendees to be divisive when they disagree with something said or done like a sports fan who doesn’t like the way a referee is calling a game (Titus 3:10-11).
I don’t believe God wants people attending a worship service to be dressed inappropriately for a worship service and becoming a distraction so others cannot focus on the real reason they are there (I Peter 3:3-4).
Frankly, a sports fan’s enthusiasm is not a good barometer for a worshipper of God.