Have You Allowed Youth Sports to Become Your Golden Calf?


Youth sports can help us be intentional fathers, teaching our kids many lessons. But, if we idolize them, we send an unhealthy message to our families.

“Hello. I’m Chad.”

(Your line: “Hi, Chad.”)

“And I’m an idol worshipper.”

The first step for an addict to get well is to admit they have a problem and are powerless to do anything about it. Step two is to believe a greater power (God, of course) is the only one who can restore you to sanity.

Many of us need to make this same admission about youth sports. We are addicted.

I’ve created many golden calves in my life. My list is sobering. A big one: my worship of sports. I’m not alone.

In a recent blog post by Bob Russell, he said 25 prominent spiritual leaders concluded that sports are the number one idol Christians battle in our state. (After all, basketball is a religion in Kentucky … )

My story is all too similar.

We usually go to church on Saturday evenings. This happens to coincide with my favorite sport to watch – college football. Often, my team would be playing right up until church starts. I leave the TV set, but keep wondering about the outcome, distracted through the entire church service. I’m not focused on the message or the worship.

But, I can focus plenty when I’m in game mode. I make sure the screen and volume are precise. Food is prepared, distractions are limited (kids, wife, phone calls …). I was telling my family, “Family, I’m going to be worshiping the next few hours during this football game – don’t interrupt!”

Over time, I heard God asking me some tough questions:

“Chad, do you look forward to time with me like you look forward to _______________?”

“Chad, do you intentionally plan your day around spending time with me like you plan around __________________?”

The sobering truth of my answer: “No, Lord, not really.”

God began to graciously reset my priorities. But, just as I started down the road to recovery, my kids started playing. Their sporting events kept me bellied up to the bar.

It gave me a personal understanding of Matthew 12:43-45, “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man … it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ … then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there; and, the final plight of that man is worse than the first…”

The golden calf was resurfacing in my heart through youth sports.

Youth sports can help us be intentional fathers, teaching our kids many lessons – perseverance, how to win and lose with dignity, teamwork, and how forge godly character as a man. But, if we idolize them, we send an unhealthy message to our families.

Ask yourself:

* Can I relate to this?

* Is my worship of sports rearing its head through the sports my kids play?

* Are your desires and expectations for them to play well causing you to steal God’s glory?

Is all sports watching or attending bad? Of course not. However, improperly positioned amongst our priorities, they can become dangerous idols.

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