It’s hard to believe but the NFL preseason is about to begin. I have high hopes for my New York Jets this year. Well, high may be exaggerating but I do have hope. I enjoy football. The regular season starts in the fall, and I love fall. There are only sixteen games so each one has some significance. Unlike baseball, hockey, or basketball, NFL teams cannot go on a ten-game losing streak and still be a contender.
I’m not alone obviously. Hundreds of thousands of fans (which is short for “fanatics”) will soon be packing stadiums all over the country on Sundays (as well as Monday and Thursday nights). Millions more will be watching on giant flat screen televisions, computers, and mobile devices. Often during a broadcast, you will see fans with their bodies painted in their teams’ colors or fully dressed as Vikings, Pirates (Buccaneers), and colonial minutemen (Patriots). People get really excited about their favorite team. I even have a shelf in my office that serves as a little New York Jets “shrine.” It holds coffee mugs, a beanie baby and Funko Pop figurine. I even have a Jets Russian nesting doll and an airplane made out of a couple of aluminum cans that Renée got me at a craft fair.
We get really invested in our team and if they make it to the playoffs or Super Bowl, we are completely deflated if they lose. Euphoric if they win. It really is an amazing phenomenon.
I have been a fan since as long as I can remember but there is something that didn’t really hit me until after I got saved in my mid-20s. People spend upwards of $2000 for New England Patriots season tickets. Then there is the cost of parking. Getting a beer and some food. Going to a game can quickly run a few hundred dollars and we don’t think about it for a moment. Then, on Sunday, thousands of fans will show up early to tailgate before kickoff. You could be at Gillette Stadium for six hours or more easily. Again, we don’t blink an eye.
In the end, as much as I enjoy the game, win, or lose, do the New York Jets change my life? If they won the Super Bowl, does it affect me at all? Not really. Jesus did though. He gave His life so that I would be forgiven of my sins and enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet, how many of us tithe $2000 to our church? Imagine if people showed up for church hours ahead of time to tailgate? Thousands lined up outside of Meeting Houses all over New England on Sunday mornings hoping for a good seat.
It seems millions of us (men in particular) may have our priorities confused. Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). Yeah. Shouldn’t we be fans of Jesus first? Above all else.
There is nothing wrong with being a sports fan whether its football, baseball, basketball, hockey, or video games. None of those things, however, offers us eternal life. After I got saved, I began asking myself, should we not be fans of Jesus? Excited about who He is and what He did for us? If so, perhaps we show that excitement on Sunday mornings by giving Him praise. As the psalmist writes, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things” (Psalm 103:1-5).
Remember you can email praises and petitions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.