If you are a Christian, nothing says you believe God is in control more than what you do with your time and money. When you choose to prioritize the church over sports for your kids you reject the over hyped American system that tells you, you have to sacrifice everything to the gods of elite athleticism to see your kids achieve athletic excellence. Instead you’re saying, “No. I trust God. If he wants my kids to be an athletic success, He will allow for it. Instead, snub your nose at the god of sports order your life around the things God has called Christians to prioritize.”
I live in a town that has produced more winter Olympians than any other town in America. Steamboat Springs, Colorado is “Ski Town USA”, famous for its “Champagne powder” snow and ski jump. It is a beautiful and inspiring place to live. We moved here in February 2016, right in the middle of spring ski season.
My wife, Angie, very early on said it best, “The god of this town is the (ski) mountain. It tells its worshipers how to spend their money. It tells them when to skip church. It tells them when to neglect their family, if the worshiper wants to enjoy its blessings.” As time went on, we have found that to be more and more the case. In fact, as we get to know our community, we meet numerous people who say their “church” is the mountain. Christians will spend insane amounts of money on skis and bikes but will neglect to give a percentage of their income to the church. Steamboat loves to play.
I love to play too. I feel close to God when I am outdoors. I love skiing with my family. I love mountain biking. I love jogging in the mountains. I love hiking to the beautiful summits that surround us. But I show my love for Jesus to the world and myself by choosing to go to church. It is a sacrifice some days.
The average summer temperature here is 85 degrees. We get as many sunny days as Costa Rica. But when the snow comes it lasts a long time. We receive an average of 25 feet of snow a year. Of the 180 days of winter, 57 of them will be snowy. There will be no playing outside on those days. So to look a sunny summer Sunday morning in the face and choose the Christian community gathered indoors for the mission of the gospel is a sacrifice. However, because I prioritize my faith in the summer, I believe the winter will just be a different type of opportunity to draw closer to God. Not being able to go outside won’t crush my soul because I always live for God and never for the mountain.
I enjoy the mountain on God’s terms. The mountain doesn’t control me. God does. I believe He made the mountain. So I will get to it when He allows. In the meantime, you will find me doing the things he has called believers to do with other believers.
God created the mountain. Maybe we shouldn’t move past that too fast. My faith in God, my understanding of Scripture and my appreciation for creation collide when I look at the mountains. The other morning I was playing fetch with my dog in my driveway as the sun was rising over the Rockies. It turned the clouds above me beautiful shades of pink and blue. It was quiet. It was glorious. I had to hold back my tears of worship for the God who made that moment. That moment with the mountain is like so many others that are enhanced by God’s presence. It is emotionally intoxicating. The awe and wonder of God in creation is great because I know the God who created the mountain. Going to church makes my time in recreation richer.
A life that is built around recreation with a little God dabbed in every once in a while is actually shortchanging all the joy that can come from recreation with God. When God is the priority of your life, the real priority, not just something you say, but something you practice by being a faithful church member on mission, then you get to truly enjoy whatever it is you enjoy because you see it through the depth and richness of the God who created it.
The same can be said for your children and their budding “athletic career.” When athletics is held out in front of you children as the highest reward they will learn that they must do whatever they can to achieve success. You can say whatever you want, your actions will be the voice they hear the loudest. When church remains the priority your kids can actually enjoy sports. It’s way easier to please God than it is to be a success in an industry that throws away their elites at a certain age.
I have written a book on this subject if you’d like to read it check it out: I Love Jesus but Not His Girlfriend
Go enjoy life to the fullest, put God first.
Thanks for reading,