28 Sep Re-Creation
Not all recreation does the important work of re-creating. In Sunday’s message, I talked about the things with which we fill our schedule. Some of them are mandatory things like school or work, but there are other entries upon which we decide.
What are our favorite pastimes—the ways to spend our recreation time? Many of us would answer, following sports. Sports have become more than a pastime for some. Our children are involved with them. We play them as a hobby or as part of a recreation league. We watch hours of football, basketball, baseball, NASCAR, soccer, golf and whatever you can come up with. We spend a great deal of time involved with sports.
How much of that time spent in recreation and watching people play games is good for us? I don’t know the answer. I know that there is a level of emotion and passion and fulfillment to be found in sports. We enjoy watching it. We enjoy playing it. But is it good for us?
This week has seen a great deal of turmoil in the world of sports. First, it was the NFL. For several reasons, NFL football players have started protesting during the National Anthem by taking a knee or staying in the locker room. The reasons why are a conversation for another day. American sports fans are starting to push back against the idea that our sports can no longer just be about sports.
Next, college sports joined the fray because of the FBI investigation into college basketball. They have uncovered the sordid details of how big-time college basketball programs work. This does not just involve a rogue coach or booster. No, the FBI is suggesting that major shoe companies, agents, AAU coaches, and college coaches are involved in several major crimes around paying college recruits and players. For years, the NCAA has tried to catch and punish college basketball and football programs and boosters for paying recruits and players, but this new story is too much.
How do we deal with these disturbances in our recreation time? We have been working through Psalm 23 and learning about God’s approach to dealing with stress. I believe God is asking all of us to reconsider how we spend our time to address the damage stress is doing. It has been normal for us to have our television on all day on Saturday and all afternoon on Sunday, watching football. We watch teams we don’t even care about and cheer for teams with players known for abusing women, drugs, or the law. Even with the increasing awareness of head traumas and the rising number of injuries, there is something oddly soothing about having the games on the television. But now, for me, I don’t feel like that much consumption is good for re-creation.
We took a break from the NFL last Sunday and Monday. We had some additional family time we wouldn’t have had on a normal Sunday, and we are better for it. I think that gives me a snapshot of the kind of recreation God intends for us. God’s re-creating promotes relationships and encouragement. I don’t always get that from staring at the television for hours on end. It almost becomes parallel play as we all are in the same space but are not engaging each other.
I don’t know if the events of this past week in the world of sports will change our culture or even how people will respond. I do know that God wants good things for us. God wants us to work hard, but God also wants us to rest. God wants us to spend time in recreation, and that re-creating work should build us up and draw us together, not wear us down or drive us apart.
What does your re-creation time look like? Does it stress you out or lessen the impact of stress on your life? God is someone to get emotional and passionate about, and He certainly brings fulfillment. Pursuing God is not going to hurt us. God doesn’t look at us with dollar signs in His eyes, seeing us as consumers. God is concerned about our souls and not only finding eternal peace but also finding peace in this life.
With all the unpleasantness going on right now in the world, I feel like the only pursuit that won’t let me down is God. So I am going to invest more of myself into God and find re-creation in him. I know the world will always leave me wanting, but I guess I just needed a reminder.
Blessings to you,