Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
I love football. Every fall I look forward to the change of seasons with particular excitement because football becomes an exciting, and weekly, obsession. During the week I check up on certain players and decide who to start, and who to bench, on my fantasy football team. Before I leave for work I rely on the updates from ESPN to keep me informed for the coming conversations about football that I will have on a regular basis. After church on Sundays I quickly put on my throwback Redskins jersey and prepare to scream and cheer for a team that has recently left me disappointed.
Football season is fun, thrilling, and all encompassing. Before worship starts on Sunday mornings I can count on having at least 5 conversations with particular church folk about college and professional football. It has created allegiances that people are proud to display via jerseys, hats, bumper stickers, flags, and even tattoos. The obsession with football is so prevalent that it has now become nearly impossible to do anything in our culture with football sneaking its way in.
I love football, but sometimes I worry that I love football too much. When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites in the wilderness, he commanded them to have no other gods. Today, many of us worship other gods with greater vibrancy and devotion than we worship the triune God. Football is just one example of how we begin to worship other gods in our lives to the point that we lose sight of the incarnate God in Christ who still moves and speaks in the world today.
Can you imagine what the church would look like if people supported, adored, and loved it as much as they love football? Think about how many conversations you would have on a daily basis about what God has done for you, how visible your faith would be if all your jerseys were replaced with shirts covered in scripture, how church would be the true highlight of Sundays rather than a football game.
For me, football is a god that I sometimes put before our God. I catch myself having more conversations about how my team played last week than I do about the abundant grace and mercy of the Lord our God.
What gods have you put before the Lord? How different would your life look if you put the Lord of heaven and earth above all things?