Wednesday, November 2, 2022
As much as I love this time of year, I know I should hate it. Maybe hate is too harsh of a word, but I know that at the least I need to adjust my priorities during this season. It is the season of overlaps. No, I’m not talking about my waistline. I’m talking about all the things that come together this time of the year. There’s the World Series, NFL Football, Fantasy Football, deer hunting, and still nice enough weather for fishing and golfing. There’s so much to do and so little time in which to do it.
The older I get, and the more aware I become of eternity, the more I realize how much of my life has been spent placing significance on the insignificant.
This came home to me very clearly several years ago when I participated in the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire’s Community Connect day on campus. We set up a display about our church on the main mall area of the campus along with several other churches and businesses. The goal was to help students connect with their community while they attend college.
My heart was overwhelmed with the thought of how many of these students will go to a Christ-less eternity of suffering because they have never been directly confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I worked hard to connect with as many as I could in the four hours I was there. I personally greeted and handed literature to over 250 students. Many of the students took the material to be polite. Some were sincerely interested. Several stopped to talk. There was no mention of football or baseball. There was no attempt to build a relationship based on common interests in sports or music or any other pursuit of life. We got right to the point of spiritual need. Two young men were obviously impacted by the message. One was frustrated with the confrontation of the illogic of his position. At least six were drawn to make a commitment to attend our church. Dozens of others showed sincere interest. Hundreds have something in their hand that the Holy Spirit can use to open their hearts.
The Apostle Peter drives a point deep into my heart in today’s Scripture verse.
He says,“For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” 1 Peter 4:3
Read this part again. “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do.” I know the context, and that Peter is talking specifically about evil desires. I also know that football, baseball, golf, fishing, fantasy games, video games, books, bike-riding, scrapbooking, and all the other recreational activities of our lives are not evil. But let’s be honest – they can and often do keep us from doing the will of God. We have made them more significant than they really are. Peter says that we are to be done doing that.
We currently hear the roar of football fans. Golf courses are running fall specials. Plans will be made for last minute fall getaways before the snow flies. And during all those activities, we will have placed the most significant part of life way down the priority list – the will of Jesus. That’s what’s truly significant!
It’s not wrong to play fantasy football. It’s not a sin to golf. It’s not evil to have hobbies and enjoy recreation. But why do those things become more significant in our lives than serving Jesus and sharing the Gospel? Our lives are not properly balanced. In many cases, Christ gets the leftovers of our time rather than best of what we have to offer. Let us take to heart the words of Peter. We have spent enough time in the past doing all those other things. It’s time now to do the will of the Father and the work of Christ. It’s time to get people connected to God.