In a previous blog, I introduced this question and asked you to think about it seriously rather than dismiss it off-hand already settled in your answer – either yes or no. Now I want to take a closer look at the “NO” answer to the question – “No, God is not interested in who wins.”
This “NO” answer primarily comes in two forms. The first form is exemplified in a British letter to the editor mentioned in a recent CNN.com article that said “Leave me out of your petty games –Love, God.” The second can sound more religious when someone says “God is not concerned with who wins the game but with how the game is played.”
Let’s look at this first form today – “Leave me out of your petty games – Love, God.” While this answer can come attempting to exalt God’s greatness (After all, he is running the universe!) there are two troubling assumptions behind this answer –
* Our games are petty from God’s perspective. * God has more important things to think about or do that be concerned with these petty games.
With regard to thinking sports are petty, how do we determine that sports are petty? If sports are petty to God, what else is unimportant to Him? If he is only concerned with the “big things” of life, what exactly constitutes a “big thing”?
Do you see the problem this thinking creates? We have two lists and are left arguing about what is on which list. Life becomes a dichotomy – unimportant and important – similar to the secular/sacred dichotomy and all its problems. We are left trying to figure out what goes on which list. Life ends up fragmented, compartmentalized, and confusing.
The real problem is we are looking at this question from our perspective of a pecking order of importance to elements of living. We take our priority list and put it on God. But he doesn’t look at life that way. Through his Spirit he says things like “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” (Psalm 24:1) Everything means everything. Everything is God’s. He claims every square inch and every second as “MINE.” Including us – to our amazement. Jesus, realizing the difficulty we have with these lists of what is important to God, taught his disciples that “even the very hairs on your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30) when they wondered if they themselves made it on to the list. Not only did they make it but something as small or “petty” as their hair made it as well.
Does that mean God is concerned with everything equally? How can that be? Is he as concerned with a game as he would be a starving child? How about a game and the killing of innocent people? How about a game and … (You fill in the blank)? Or go the other way, how about what I wear and a game? What about what I eat and a game? This seems almost silly unless there is a way to unite all of these aspects of life under one concern that would bring value to every single aspect of the life we live.
This is exactly what God does. Listen to these words of John Piper from his book, Brothers We are Not Professionals:
“God’s first commitment is to His own glory, and this is the basis for ours. God’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy His glory forever.”
God is concerned with his glory – both the enjoyment of the magnificence of his greatness (his flame) and the recognition of this magnificence (his fame). In this light, Paul states emphatically “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Everything, even something as mundane as eating and drinking is of concern to God in the way it does or doesn’t bring him glory – this enjoyment and recognition of his greatness. Everything, including our games (Sports are certainly included in the phrase “whatever you do”), can be a way to enjoy his flame and spread his fame and, therefore, of chief concern to God.
Do you see what this does? It exalts God as the One who alone can bring us what we want – clarity, unity, and meaning to things that concern us. Rather than seeing life as unimportant or important, sports as petty or not petty, we now see all of life on the important list. Not just our sports but certainly including our sports. We are left marveling at such a great and gracious God!
When this perspective has been grasped in the past, it has revolutionized people and cultures as it brought meaning to things the world called “petty” or unimportant. So to those who answer of “No, God doesn’t care who wins because our games our petty” I ask you to lift up your eyes and behold this magnificent one who brings meaning to all of life, not only our games but our jobs, our finances, our relationships with others, our…… For the glory of God and your great enjoyment.