What God Taught Me Through Football
It's September. That means summer's basically over, school's back in, and it's football season.
I've been a huge football fan since I was a kid. Saturdays were spent watching or listening to the Penn State game, and after church on Sunday we'd watch the Steelers.
I was born in 1977, so I'd never seen the Steelers in the Super Bowl, at least that I could remember. Then came the 1995 season, and the Steelers were headed for Super Bowl XXX. At that time, I'd been a member of The Church for two and a half years, and I was the local MBA president.
We had our MBA meetings on Sunday nights, and I had originally planned to keep MBA at 7 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. Someone suggested that I move the meeting to after the Sunday afternoon service. I should have kept the normal schedule, but I didn't. While we had a good lesson that afternoon, something didn't feel right. I pushed it off, but I knew in my heart what was wrong.
I put football before God.
Later that night, the Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys. Now, I won't say that they lost just because I changed the MBA meeting — it probably had more to do with Neil O'Donnell's interceptions — but I will say that I learned a valuable lesson that night early in my new life with Christ: don't let anything come before God, and don't change my service to make things more convenient for entertainment.
Thirteen years later, in February 2009, I faced a similar situation. It was feet washing Sunday in Ft. Worth, and the Steelers were scheduled to play the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.
I could have stayed home that Sunday because I knew that I wouldn't get back until 8 p.m. or so, but I chose to go. I remember telling people at work who invited me to Super Bowl parties that I couldn't come because I was going to church and wouldn't be back until late. They thought I was nuts.
Well, we had such a blessed day that I didn't care if I saw the game or who won anyway. So, it was a nice plus when I got home in time to see the Steelers win it at the gun.
(Editor's Note: We must take a moment and also acknowledge the disappointment felt that evening by many saints in the Southwest Region — including ... um ... the Blog editor herself.)
There is one more football experience that I'll never forget.
We all know that the young guys — and sometimes the middle-aged guys — enjoy playing football at camps and other church gatherings. At the 1996 GMBA Singles Retreat, we played a friendly game with the GMBA officers joining in. We were having a great time until Brother Brian's finger was accidentally broken. Immediately, without hesitation, the brothers anointed him right there on the field with the rest of us kneeling in prayer. Although his finger was not healed instantaneously, it was nothing severe.
We thank God for His goodness, mercy, and teachings — even when He teaches with football.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.