Recently in my hometown there was a lot of excitement from many people that do not follow soccer because a close by, Marshall University won their first National Championship in soccer and everyone that watched this game and celebrated on their social media put statements like, “just watched my first soccer match and it was worth it!” and “who knew I would like soccer this much? Go Herd!” I also saw so much excitement from the fans while watching on television. As much as I was also excited about the championship, mainly because I actually follow soccer and have enjoyed it the passed 10-15 years because of coaching it and attending local games, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement it brought to people that don’t even understand the game. It seems that sports bring excitement out of people and it unites them for one night at the same moment in time. So, as much as I like sports, I couldn’t help but wonder the answer to a question that went through my head in, why doesn’t the church excite people the way sports do? When I am in church with other believers, we at that moment should be just as excited as we would be at a sporting event. Why doesn’t the church get excited about Jesus as much as we get excited about an overtime goal for a championship win in soccer? Whose fault is it really? If the church isn’t excited about the gospel and what Jesus offers, how do we expect others, that do not follow Him understand that same excitement that He brings?
As much as I am excited about that goal in soccer, I am more excited about how we as a church can accomplish the biggest goal in life, telling and showing others who Christ is. Sports are great and I love sports just as much as anyone but it should never be more exciting than Jesus and there are many reasons why.
One reason why Jesus is more exciting than sports is, Commitment. Jesus takes you for who you are and not what you need to be to become great. Sports puts way too much pressure on the athlete and expectations are high and the fan tends to get disappointed more times than not. With Jesus, He just asks for faith in order to use you for His purpose and that you are automatically on His team without trying out. He will also never leave you and give up on you like sports do when you are not having your best game in life and He doesn’t want a fan but a follower and there is never a let down while following Jesus. The only let down is when we take our eyes away from Him (Matthew 14:30) but then again, He immediately pulls us up (Matthew 14:31).
The next reason why Jesus is more exciting than sports is Anticipation. Just like sports, anticipating on a victory is what brings excitement when being a follower of Jesus because I know that I am guaranteed a victory. As a follower of Jesus, Hope is that anticipation of Him returning to finally proclaim His authority over all when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord, (Isaiah 45:23). I am not guaranteed a victory in sports when anticipating a winning score from my team but I get excited about what Jesus promises to His followers because that is always going to be the winning team and there is never a letdown even though the game of life is long and it seems that there is no victory in sight, anticipating knowing it will eventually happen is worth it.
Lastly, we look at Eternal Celebration. In sports the excitement of winning a championship eventually wears down and is never at the level of when it happened but when we celebrate being in the presence of Jesus, it will always be at a high level because there is nothing better than that. We do not have to wait until we reach Heaven to start celebrating the eternal celebration because once you become a follower of Christ, that is when the celebration begins. Never allow this most important celebration to wear down because He will never get old and He will always be celebrating you on your purpose of making disciples of all nations. As you go on your day today, make it your goal to celebrate Jesus each day to everyone that you see because that is a goal worth cheering for.