Sunday, September 15, 2013

Which God Do We Worship?

Halftime Pity Party
Last night after our daughter's team lost 0-3 against a team that never should have beaten us had we had our full compliment of players, I spent some time chatting with a former player and her dad prior to the next match's kickoff. We spoke about the season, the prospects, those that returned and those that didn't and what effect it had on the team. I lamented about the players that failed to show up, those that notified me late of their absence and those that just didn't notify me at all. He listened as I complained a bit.

Noticing my murmuring, I tried to change the subject by stating that I was excited for the next game to begin and was hoping for a more favorable outcome. And then words dropped from my lips that shocked even me (and that's saying something). "I hope we can pull off a win because I'd like to be in a good mood going into tomorrow's worship." No sooner had I said those ridiculous words than the full realization of their import hit me like a ton of bricks. I uttered out loud, "But seriously, which god do we worship? The True and Living God or the god of soccer." My friend, a minister at his church, shot me a knowing look and acknowledged that he fully understood the conflict of which I had admitted.

While I love the game and use the game to extend my reach into the lives of the youth I coach and their families to bring positive values and morals, there is a conflict of over study, too much concentration and a focus on winning the competition. The battle is not one of good vs. evil but a struggle among God's children for supremacy. Again, the conflict is not in the game but in the value we place on it.

Over the last year I've made corrective actions in my life to stem the tide of over indulging in a sport I have loved my whole life. I retired a beloved team with Austin's retirement, having only 1 known player return this season. I resigned from the Board of Directors of the soccer association I've coached in for 9 years and volunteered for the last 6 years, knowing there would be battles to be won as a coach with less of a voice and influence. The practices I hold for the two remaining teams are just once a week as opposed to 2 times with few pre-season practices. My focus has been more on the family, more on my relationship with God and what matters the most in my life.

Even with these changes, I can't help but recognize there is a tinge of overindulgence in how I approach the game and how it affects my life. Can I truly serve two masters? I'm not saying I would give up coaching or have my kids devout their life to only studying the scriptures and praying in their free time. 1) they'd be extremely fat theologians which seems contrary to considering our bodies as temples and 2) if the sport brings joy then isn't that a desire God has for us? The key to maintaining the balance is understanding which god I serve and placing my desires, my interests, my motivations in the True and Living God.

It helps that our teams pray together before each game. We've even prayed at the end of seasons to thank God for His divine help, His love and bringing the team together. Inviting Him into our lives through prayer helps to center ourselves in Him rather than in a barbaric competition of earthly wills.

I believe I can worship God and still partake in a wonderful sport that is fulfilling, stretches each participant include the coach, and even through ugly losses like last night, find joy in the experience.

Which God do you worship and how do you battle the conflict of an earthly passion and serving the True and Living God?
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