Perhaps the most-viewed sports “highlight” video of the last 48-hours is the clip that captured Washington Nationals’ players Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper going at in the dugout during the late innings of the their team’s game last Sunday afternoon. Ironically, just a few hours earlier, I had finished reading Mike Matheny’s fabulous book on sports, kids, and life, The Matheny Manifesto. The contrast between the words of the St.Louis Cardinals’ dugout boss and what happened in the Nats dugout is marked.
While none of us really know everything that happened between Papelbon and Harper and how it has been handled since, the short video clip captures one professional sports moment among many that portray how each and every one us is default-set to glorify the kingdoms of the world, the flesh, and the devil over and above consistently seeking to glorify God through our sporting endeavors. . . whether as player, coach, parent, or spectator. Things are not the way they are supposed to be. Out of the overflow of a heart bent on serving and following Jesus Christ, Cardinal’s skipper Mike Matheny has turned our current culture of sport upside down by working out in very practical ways the path to serving Jesus Christ as players, coaches, parents, and spectators. The Matheny Manifesto is a book I highly recommend.
As I’ve continued to think about Matheny’s book, I’ve been reminded of the fact that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all creation and the Lord of all of life. Our task as followers of Christ is to go deep in the Word, looking to learn what it means to follow Jesus in every nook and cranny of our lives. This includes sport. So, with the baseball playoffs set to begin, the NFL season in full swing, and the NHL set to start in a little over a week, sports are on our minds. Perhaps what should be first on our sporting minds is how to live/play/spectate/coach/parent out Paul’s words in I Corinthians: “So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
So today, I’m thinking about all-of-life-redeemed wisdom that’s been passed on to me from some of my theological mentors. Here are some words to ponder as you play, coach, parent, spectate, and lead kids. . . .
“If God is the Creator of the entire universe, then it must follow that He is the Lord of the whole universe. No part of the world is outside of His lordship. That means that no part of my life must be outside of His lordship.” – R.C. Sproul
“We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about.” – R.C. Sproul
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” – Abraham Kuyper
“Christians were never meant to be normal. We’ve always been holy troublemakers, we’ve always been creators of uncertainty, agents of dimension that’s incompatible with the status quo; we do not accept the world as it is, but we insist on the world becoming the way that God wants it to be. And the Kingdom of God is different from the patterns of this world.” – Jacques Ellul