I was working out in a gym one day and standing beside me was a tall person who was smiling at me. Apparently he recognized me. I smiled back and said, “You are so tall you must be a basketball player.” He smiled and he said, “oh yes. I do play once in a while.”
The gym attendant looked at me with amazement. He could not understand the conversation. Finally the attendant looked at me and said, “Sir, you do not follow basketball do you?” I said, “unfortunately not. Why?” And then the attendant said, “That gentleman is a professional basketball player in our country and he is a superstar. And you don’t know him….tsk…tsk…tsk…”
The funny thing is that I used to play high school varsity basketball until one day I realized basketball is not for midgets like me and I am 5’7 and a half.
This made me think. I remember someone saying he does not like sports. It’s an old story but it’s worth repeating. This gentleman adamantly said:
“I will tell you why I don’t like sports.”
I’ve had it! I quit this sports business once and for all. You can’t get me near one of those places again. Want to know why?
- Every time I went, they asked me for money.
- The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly.
- The seats were too hard and not at all comfortable.
- I went to many games, but the coach never came to call on me.
- The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.
- I suspected that I was sitting with some hypocrites–they came to see their friends and what others were wearing rather than to see the game.
- Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.
- The band played some numbers that I had never heard before.
- It seems that the games are scheduled when I want to do other things.
- I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was growing up.
- I don’t want to take my children to any games, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
Guess what. These reasons my sound ridiculous but think about it deeply. Aren’t these the same reasons people use to justify why they don’t want to go to church?
I don’t blame them. I used to behave the same way.
When people invite me to go to church I would become sarcastic and say, “Why should I go to church when all I see is a bunch of hypocrites there?”
And then I heard motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “Every I invite someone to come to church and that person says, “I don’t want to go to church. They are just a bunch of hypocrites in there. I always say, “Oh Come on now you go to church , there is always room for one more…..” Now that doesn’t sound very politically correct but then Ziglar continues saying: “If the only thing that is standing in between you and God is the hypocrite in church then that hypocrite is obviously nearer to God than you would ever be…”
I learn best about life skills in church. My family goes to church. No church is perfect because it is made up of imperfect people. I have known of church leaders who behave like petty potentates and bully people around. I have seen church members who are so legalistic and self-righteous and guess what I think about these. These imperfect people remind me of myself and this is why I go to church. I hear a message that reminds me not to behave like a jerk and I know God wants me to change. I go to church and I am reminded to love my family, help the poor and serve this country and I know that is what God wants out of me.
I don’t go to church because it makes me look good. I don’t avoid church because I don’t like the people there. I go to church because my heart is searching for God’s Word that would help me live my life correctly.
So I hope you would love sports and love church all for the same reason.