This past Sunday our lead pastor Brad talked about missing good things for the best things.
That struck a chord with me.
I started thinking about growing up and all the things I was involved in. One of those was sports. I LOVE sports. My favorite sport is football but I love sports in general. I love the comradery, the life lessons, the thrill of a hard fought victory, etc. I literally could go on and on.
But one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is the overemphasis of sports within families. In a recent survey a full 25% of high school athletes want to see their children play professional sports. The percentage goes up to 39% when the income of the family is lower than $50,000.
The problem with this is that a very small amount of students actually make it to professional sport. This graph is from the NCAA.
As you can see very few actually make it. The largest percentages make it to the minor leagues of their sports with even fewer making it to the actual pros.
My son plays flag football. He absolutely loves to play defense. He would much rather sack the quarterback than catch a pass. And he’s really good at it. He has a nose for the ball. He earned MVP multiple times for his defensive play. He would take over a game and shut the offense down.
I videoed every defensive play he was in last year knowing that there was a good chance of him making a play. And when he did? I went bananas! Watching him take out the QB or running back in the backfield was so much more exciting to me than anything I ever did.
And it’s JUST flag football. But when it’s your child it’s so easy to get caught up in. And if I’m really honest I believe that he’s the most amazing player I’ve ever seen. But that’s because he’s MY son.
We all want our kids to excel at things. And a lot of us want that thing to be sports. And unfortunately far too many parents want their kids to excel at those things to the detriment of other things…better things.
I have watched as kids missed services, youth groups, camps, missions trips and hangouts because of this practice or lesson. And I can count on one hand how many of those teens actually made it through college with their faith intact.
I believe it’s because their parents communicated to them that church and faith were secondary to the other things.
Sports are not bad. AT ALL! But when you replace the things of God with sports then they do become bad.
Listen to what Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37:
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”
Far too often we sacrifice what’s best for what’s good! What’s best for my children is not learning a particular defensive scheme or choral arrangement (my daughter is in amazing choral program). Those are good things. But the BEST thing is for them to learn who they are in Jesus and what He’s created them for. We want them to live life according to His calling and not the calling of the world.
If that means they don’t make the pros then fine! If that means they don’t get to play on the best teams then that’s ok with us.
I’m not telling you that if your son or daughter misses church stuff because they’re on a team is going to cause them to forever fall away from Christ. I’m not saying that missing church makes you a bad parent.
I’m saying that each of us have to wrestle with what’s good and what’s best. All of us are going do that really well at times and others times not so much.
I believe that any sacrifice we make as a family for the sake of Jesus and his church is totally worth it. And that the benefits of those sacrifices will far out way the sacrifice itself in the long run.
Do you have to be at every service to love Jesus? No. Do you have to be at everything youth group, hangout, trip or conference to love Jesus? No. Just make sure that you’re not missing out on what’s best for what’s good.