Good day to each of you reading this column on Sports: A Great Pastime or Great Obsession.

Before we begin, here’s a ditty for you—This morning I went to sign my dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said, “Dogs are not eligible for welfare.” So, I explained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English, and have no clue who their Dads are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care.

So, she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify. My dogs get their first checks next Friday.

Wow, this is a great country.

And a lesson from a great President named Abraham Lincoln: “You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves”.

For those of you who say that Abraham Lincoln’s statute should be removed and that he was a racist—You must have missed the Gettysburg Address and this lesson that says You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.

Here is some food for thought in our ever-changing world. Let’s begin with Sports and America’s obsession with sports in general. I recently read an article by Chuck Baldwin on America’s Bread & Circus Society and will quote some of the thoughts on sports.

Chuck Baldwin says, “Millions and millions of Americans (especially males) are literally intoxicated with sports. Sports are no longer a great American pastime; they are now a great American obsession.” He went on to say, “I am not talking about sports in general; I am talking about the way many American men have allowed sports to control and dominate their lives. With many, sports are not just a hobby, they are a religion. I can’t count the number of conversations between men that I overhear in restaurants, airplanes, boardrooms, and yes, even church houses, in which every man in the circle is literally consumed with all sorts of sports facts, information, and opinions. In many such discussions, these men will talk about nothing else. To these men, there is absolutely nothing in the world more important than the latest sports score, announcement, or trade. NOTHING!”

Take some time to ponder the following statements from Mr. Baldwin—Have you heard a pastor at your church dismiss church early due to a golf match or the Super Bowl? Wasn’t there a time in American sports when no sports were played on a Sunday? Do you rush home, quit family activities, cutting the lawn earlier, making sure all the yard chores are completed before your Sunday football game is played? Mr. Baldwin says, “The sad reality is that much of today’s masculinity is experienced only vicariously through a variety of sports teams and personalities. Instead of personally flexing our muscles for God and country, freedom and liberty, or home and hearth, we punch the air and beat our chests over touchdowns and home runs (even though we had absolutely nothing to do with them ourselves). Instead of getting in the face of these would be tyrants in Washington, D.C., who are doing everything they can to steal the American dream, we get in the face of the poor umpire who makes a bad call, or the Little League coach who doesn’t play my son enough. Our happiness, well-being, and mood are not determined by anything personally achieved (or lost), but by what others accomplished (or didn’t accomplish) at the ballpark. Whether our children inherit a land of liberty and freedom does not seem nearly as important as whether they make the starting lineup on the football team.”

Does this not sum up the world’s condition to the sports world? Man has taken sports to a new level – He places sports in such high regard, so nothing interferes with him missing a game, a match or a series. In fact, his whole universe revolves around sports every day of every week as women become “widows” and children become a thing of the past since Dad has no time and wants no interruptions when his game is on.

And what about money? College football games tickets for a family of four start at 50.00 each for admission plus food, parking. Are you such a fan that follows your sports team all over the country like some rock band groupie? As Mr. Baldwin says, many American men have allowed sports to control and dominate their lives. With many, sports are not just a hobby; they are a religion”. Folks, these are strong words and as one said, “the chickens have come home to roost”.

Turn to Exodus 20:3 (FF) There shall be no other God to you, except MYSELF.

Jeremiah 35:15 (NIV) “Again and again I sent all my servants to you, They said, Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given you and your fathers. But you have not paid attention or listened to me”.

Jeremiah 18:11 (NIV) “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.”

A disaster back then and a disaster today—COVID 19 and sports. The sports world has been turned upside down with limited pro baseball, pro hockey, pro basketball and pro football. No fan or limited fan attendance and the rules of contact being changed to protect the players and coaches. Sports revenue is on a major decline which effects the team personnel, workers, and attendants who would lose their jobs.

As for non-professional sports, let’s begin with college with no or limited college football, limited practices, many colleges cancelling sports altogether and sports revenue falling in the “red” or negative column. College salaries cut and many team personnel, workers and attendants losing their jobs.

As for junior high and high school sports, superintendents are in a major quandary as to how to proceed and what would be the best for the student, the teacher, faculty, and staff in terms of health?

This effects sports for beginners—Little League, Pee Wee League, Soccer, Youth Basketball, etc. are all seriously effected and could possibly fall to the waste side for health and financial concerns.

Take me out to the Ball game and the National Pastime is just that, a pastime. Sports has its place, has always had its place and will always have its place, but sports was not meant to be man’s obsession or religion.

God says that man will have no other God and that he is a jealous God in Exodus 20:5 and in Exodus 34:14 (NIV) Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

God has become jealous and rightly so because many of us have placed sports above our maker. Many would not admit this, but we are obsessed with sports and many to the point of being a fanatic.

God is re-arranging our priorities and there will be those who adhere to what God is doing and will realize that God is doing this to awaken us and to have our eyes and lives placed upon him. But, many of us have the attentions span of a gnat and will long for the day as to when sports rule the airwaves.

Will this happen? No, because Jesus talks about pestilences and famines affecting us in the last days and I believe we will see more pestilences stronger than COVID-19.

Fellow Christian, we know that Jesus will soon come to Earth to claim His Kingdom and when He does, there will be an account of everyone—Will you fall into the category as having placed sports as your religion? The hourglass is filling and soon we will answer to King Jesus. Will you stand firm to the end or swallowed up in the ways of the world?

May God Bless you and may you bless God.