Given March 2010
In this final installment to the Lessons from Sports series, let’s look at the similarities and differences in cheering for your team and praising the Lord.
Any good sports fan will get excited when they’re at the game and their team does well. They love the team and when they succeed their emotions and actions erupt with cheering, clapping, jumping and whatever else they can use to express their joy. Some seem to go a little overboard at times, maybe even fanatical, but it’s accepted because they’re all there to support their team.
Any good Christian should get excited when they’re at church and the congregation is offering up praise to God for all the great things He has done. They love God and when they’re in His presence their joy and thankfulness is expressed by shouting, clapping, jumping and other ways they can express their praise. Some criticize the emotion expressed in praise but accept the emotion expressed at the game. Why is that? “O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.” (Psalm 47:1). “And David danced before the Lord with all his might,” (2 Samuel 6:14). Fanatics?
I certainly am not condemning anyone for cheering at a ball game. I have let up many a shout when a last second shot went in or one of “mine” crossed the goal line. I’m suggesting if we love God as much as we love our team…shouldn’t our praise and cheering be similar?
Another comparison is the Super Bowl party. We have a special gathering, sometimes at church, to cheer our team on to victory and if you are a super fan, you might even get tickets to be there in person. However, I hear there is a “great cloud of witnesses”, (Hebrews 12:1), assembled in a stadium in the sky cheering us on as we “compete”. And¸ when someone gets saved, I can just hear the crowd erupt in rejoicing, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7). These lessons are designed to make us think and see if there’s anything we need to learn. Go God! We love you!