With the NBA Playoffs rolling along and baseball season in full swing (pun definitely intended), I was thinking about our love for sports—how we can love sports too much. I was reminded of this excerpt from Matt Chandler’s book, The Explicit Gospel, which smashes me over the head with conviction every time I read it:
As I write this, March Madness is going on. It’s the greatest sporting event. (I say that because it’s also the last athletic venue in which David can still beat Goliath. There’s not really another venue like it where a college you’ve never heard of that has, say, eight hundred people in it can upset superpowers in the basketball world.) But here’s the thing about fallen men and women who love March Madness. All over our country, fans are nervous. I’m not joking. They’re nervous in their guts, they want their team to win so badly. They watch the games and yell at their televisions: “No! Yes!” Kids are crying in fear, wives are running for more nachos—it’s chaos. It’s madness. With victory comes elation and surfing a thousand websites to read the same article over and over and over again, and with defeat comes destitution of spirit and days of mourning and moping, angrily arguing on a blog and about who really deserved it or an official’s botched call.
Every bit of those affections, every bit of that emotion, and every bit of that passion was given to us by God for God. It was not given for basketball.
Where is the nervousness in our guts when we’re coming into an assembly of those pursuing God? Where is the elation over the resurrection? Where is the desolation over our sins? Where is it? Well, it’s on basketball. It’s on football. It’s on romance. It’s on tweeting and blogging.
Are you really going to believe we’re not worthy of hell?
Thank God for his response to all this blasphemous nonsense: the wrath-absorbing cross of Christ. (51)
Matt is not saying that sports or even enjoying sports is a bad thing. Sports are a good thing—a gift from God. But, as Mark Driscoll would say, when we take a good thing and make it a god thing, then that is a bad thing. It is called idolatry.