I delight in sports fans. Well, most of them.
Not the ones who boo, but the ones who dress up in goofy outfits, paint their faces in team colors, scream until they are hoarse, hug strangers in celebration and embarrass their dates.
When the NFL or MLB cameras pan the audience and zero in on one of those crazy devotees, I have to smile. Gosh, they love their teams. And I think that’s cool!
Arriving hours before the game, they schmooze with strangers while waiting for the turn-styles to open. They join like-minded buddies and tail-gate in the parking lot, grilling hotdogs and betting on who will win
. It can be 20-degrees below zero, and there they are, sometimes shirtless with painted chests, reinforcing just what a wimp I am. They stay long after the game has ended, trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite players as they leave the park, desperate for an autograph.
That life is not for me. I, instead, will cheer from my couch, buttered popcorn in hand (with no concession stand delay), rooting for my favorite teams (Go, Chiefs and Royals!), second-guessing coach’s choices (You called WHAT play?) and appreciating replays.
Sometimes my comment precedes the television analysts’, making me question aloud if I missed my calling. When Dave hears that, he begins talking under his breath. I take that as an affirmative.
I am not a true fan. True fans will do whatever it takes to support their team. Some have faces of football players or club logos inked on their bodies. They sacrifice time, money, ego, travel, jobs, family get togethers, their vocal cords and their newborn’s names in honor of the team they support, and conversation about their favorite team dominates their talk.
Oh, that we would be that loyal to Jesus! After all, the day will come when his true “fans”–those who sacrifice everything to share him with whomever they meet, who risk ridicule to be “fools” for Jesus–will be given Heavenly crowns to celebrate their loyalty.
Are you a fool for Jesus? Do you awaken to check the box score of blessings from the day before? Does he dominate your conversation and your time? Are you willing to travel from house to house (or town to town) to share your passion for him? Or are you a wimp? Does potential ridicule or inconvenience prevent you from showing your unwavering love for the one who gave his life for you?
Think about it. Professional athletes will not die for you, no matter how much you idolize them or their performances. And even if they did, there would be no eternal gains from their death.
Oh Christians, we cannot be content to watch from our couches, unwilling to be bothered, keeping our faith to ourselves.
Maybe it’s time to be a little embarrassed.