Recently, the Baylor Bears beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs for the Men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Baylor is tied to the Southern Baptist Convention, and Gonzaga is a historically Catholic school.
When Baylor won, I posted on Facebook, “apparently God loves the Baptists more than the Catholics.”
There were other religious institutions in the tournament; one of note was Oral Roberts University, probably one of the “youngest” schools in the NCAA. Sportscasters interviewed people on the street. Most had never heard of Oral Roberts.
Currently, the President of ORU is Billy Wilson; a Pentecostal minister. ORU has only had a few presidents in their brief history, and all of them were of the charismatic / pentecostal persuasion. ORU became a D1 school in 1971; less than ten years into its existence. They dropped down into the NAIA in 1979, but then came back into the good graces in 1991. ORU had made negative headlines a few years back for recruiting violations, and were suspended from tournament play, (something they had never seen).
So often in sports, we have the “David vs. Goliath” comparisons. For some reason, America thinks that God is somehow interested in the outcome of sports. Just take a casual google “athletes gives credit to God,” or something similar.
The great Kurt Warner was always vocal about his faith. Warner was so vocal about his faith, that often sports reporters would avoid interviewing him. When an NFL team wins the Superbowl, for years it was the tradition to answer the question, “what are you going to do now?” The athlete would reply, “I’m going to Disney World!” Warner replied, “I’m going home and eat pizza with my family.”
Giving God honor is always appropriate. If one is a banker, give God honor for the job well done. If one is a teacher, fire fighter, farmer, politician… give God honor in the work that you do. Colossians 3 teaches us to do whatever we do unto His glory.
Paul wrote to the Colossians in the face of Roman opposition. The glory of Rome was everything. Everything that one did was for the glory of Rome. Therefore, when Paul wrote, “do all to the glory of God,” it was in start opposition to what the Colossians had heard.
God doesn’t care about the outcome of sports events. He doesn’t love the Baptists more than the Catholics, or the faithful more than the faithless… or atheists, for that matter. The love and goodness of God is for all!
God doesn’t make us winners in life because we are faithful. God promises us eternal life because our faithfulness to faith in Him. “I know God loves me, because my team won,” should never be in the language of humans. “I know God loves me, in spite of all that I’ve done wrong,” is more likely the scenario.
Jesus loves me, this I know. The Bible tells me so. God is good to ORU, Baylor, Gonzaga; not because they are without fault, but despite our failing and faltering ways. Kurt Warner can go home and enjoy pizza with his kids, not because God made it possible for him to win the Superbowl, but because God’s love was already alive in Kurt’s heart.
But wait until next year…
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