This week I heard a preacher suggest that our sports teams could be our idols. He was referring to the ten commandments. He was talking about the one that says:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
People get fanatical about their teams. There is no doubt about that. A sports fan is someone who is devoted and loyal to their favorite sports team. We have seen fans who paint their faces and wear outrageous costumes to support their teams. Haven’t we seen some Christians go a little overboard too? There can be excess in anything but to say that sports fans “worship” is an extreme thought to put into a sermon.
While I do think some people get carried away with their allegiance to their favorite teams, I hardly think anyone is worshipping a team mascot – and if you’re worshipping a Falcon, Dolphin or Jet today then you might need some counseling anyway.
Years ago when I lived in Warner Robins, Georgia, I was a fan of one of their local football teams. The team is called the Demons. As you can imagine, my allegiance to that team didn’t go over well with people in my church. One lady suggested that people worshipped the Demon which would shoot fireworks from his pitchfork after the team scored. I never saw people worshipping the Demon mascot. Sure, I would have preferred the team had another nickname but I never cheered for the Demons. I supported the players.
I think preachers need to be careful to classify things they don’t necessarily understand. I have a feeling that this preacher wasn’t a sports fan so he easily got his congregation stirred up with this comment. That doesn’t give him cause to assume people are making sports teams their idols. There are many other things that people worship more than a sports team. Maybe we should tackle those problems first.