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"Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

Vince Lombardi

Sports in the biblical narrative

This is an unusual weekly email, inspired totally by an article by Jeremy Treat*. It helped me to understand sport better and I hope it will do the same for you. There are two common wrong attitudes to sport - some dismiss sports as merely a game, while others worship sports as nearly a God.

When viewed through the lens of Scripture, however, we will see that sport is more than a game, less than a God, and when transformed by the gospel can be received as a gift. As people we were created to play. Play does not have a secondary purpose. It is simply creatively delighting in and enjoying God’s good creation for its own sake.

Like a father who builds a sandbox for his children, God is honoured and takes joy when his sons and daughters delight in his workmanship. John Calvin called the world “the theatre of God’s glory” but it is also the playground of God’s goodness.

Sports and competition are gifts of God in creation to be richly enjoyed with thanksgiving.

Why do people play sports? On the one hand, men and women play sports because they are created to play and want to use their gifts to glorify God. On the other hand, people often play sports as a way to justify themselves, to prove themselves to the world. When sinners understand that they are justified by the blood of Christ, this frees them from having to justify themselves through their accomplishments. Sports then become a gift; they no longer bear the pressure of being the way that we prove ourselves to the world.

I hope I have not misrepresented Jeremy Treat’s views

*Dr Jeremy Treat is Pastor/Elder at Reality LA

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