During the recent controversy about the refusal of some professional athletes to stand during our National Anthem, I heard something that caught my attention. The reporter provided the total number of people who play that sport professionally and then reported on the number who did not stand during that time. According to him, that amounted to about 1/8 of the total number of players.
When I heard those figures, my mind went in a totally different direction. I thought about parents who sacrifice time, energy, money, and other resources to make sure that their children participate in sports. I then wondered what would be different in some families if those same parents were that interested in the spiritual training of their children.
I did a little research and found the following numbers about what I’m calling the “big three” sports in our society; The National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and the National Basketball Association (NBA). I also found the total number of high school students who are involved in football, baseball, and basketball.
There are almost two million high school football players. There are currently 1,696 players on the “active rosters” of the NFL teams.
A little over 475,000 high school athletes play baseball. During most of the season, there are 750 MLB players. When the rosters are expanded toward the end of the season, that number is increased to 1,200.
Almost 550,000 young men are currently playing high school basketball. A total of 450 men play professional basketball in the NBA.
I will let you do the math. I’ve never been very good at it.
However, it seems to me that one does not have to be proficient at math to see that the chances of playing any of these sports on a professional level are very, very slim. If my “math skills” are even close to being accurate, the percentage is less than 1% for each sport. In fact, I believe that you will find that it is a lot less.
Now, what if those same parents who are so interested in making sure their children were involved in sports were more concerned about things of a spiritual nature? What if those parents put the same amount of energy and resources into the spiritual growth of their children?
What if, because of the example and training provided by the parents, faith began to develop in the children? What if that faith led those children to obey the gospel of Christ? What if that faith sustained them throughout their lives? What if they remained faithful to the Lord until they were ushered into eternity?
What are the chances that a faithful, dedicated Christian will spend eternity in heaven? Isn’t that figure 100%?
Please go back and read those last two or three paragraphs. They do not say, nor did I intend for them to say, that every young person who is reared by faithful Christian parents will, himself or herself, become a Christian and be faithful. All that I am trying to do is to suggest that some parents are playing a game in which the odds are heavily stacked against them – and their children.
Why spend so much time and effort to prepare a child for something that:
1. They will probably never get to do?
2. They probably cannot enjoy for more than just a few years even if they do get to do it?
Why would parents not spend the brief amount of time they have with their children to prepare them for eternity?
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4, ESV).
For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8, ESV).
AUTHOR: Jim Faughn