I love sports. If you know me at all, you know that college basketball is my favorite, and I follow it quite closely. Time (or maybe maturity) has a way of causing me to not follow it as closely as I used to, but I still enjoy it. Over the past couple of years or so, I have enjoyed the NFL more and more, and other sports are fun to follow, too.
It is just a couple of weeks until the annual time for the jokes and questions about Sunday night services on Super Bowl Sunday. Probably every preacher gets asked about shortening the sermon on that night. Thankfully, I have been asked by people who I knew were kidding, but for some, the question is serious.
Then I came across this video. Please watch it before continuing to read. It’s scarcely over a minute long.
(Trouble viewing? Click here to watch on YouTube.)
Without getting into all the denominational stuff of the video, I want to say this: as a religious person, I am ashamed of this video.
Does this man really think that this was good for religion? In whatever faith he belongs to, the pastor wears robes that set him apart as a type of religious leader. Of course, I do not agree with that practice, but what does it say when “the man of the cloth” is ready to watch a football game instead of helping the worshipers…oh, I don’t know…worship?
But I want to make this personal. As I said in the opening paragraph of today’s post, I love sports. It is playoff time in the NFL, and we are just a few weeks away from March Madness. Maybe you don’t care about these sports, but it’s your own child’s softball team or your local college football playoff.
Maybe you don’t like sports at all, but you love sales at the local mall, or there’s a TV show on Sunday nights that you just “can’t miss.”
Where is your mind when you are assembled for worship? Is it asking the question, “How long until we get out of here?”
I heard a parody of the hymn “Trust and Obey” one time that would be funnier if it weren’t really the mindset of a lot of people gathered in worship.
Rush and hurry,
For there’s no other way
To get out of church early,
Than to rush and hurry.
Think of the discussions that often happen at lunch on Sunday. They are about “how long” the prayers went, or how the song leader led all the verses of every song. “The preacher seemed to go a little long today.”
Now, there is a sense in which we need to be efficient in worship. I’m not advocating a longer worship service just to prove a point.
But I am asking us all to think about where our mind is at during the time we are worshiping God. Is it on the playoffs, or is it on piety?
Quit watching the clock and focus on the Creator.
Stop thinking about lunch, and consider the Lord.
Don’t dwell on sports, meditate on the Savior.
And get your mind off that power nap, and put it on the Powerful God of the universe.
Your team may win, or your team may lose, but what really matters is if your mind is focused on the Army of God, in which you are a soldier. Where is your mind during worship?
QUESTION: How do you focus your mind during worship? Share suggestions or stories in the comments!
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