Finger Pointing   2 comments

As a former athletic type, I must admit that I still get quite a thrill in being a sporting event admirer.  There are many sports that I like to watch, including the traditional basketball, football, some baseball and even hockey.  With my children’s interest in soccer, I also find myself increasingly interested in that as well.  I enjoy watching races as well, although I frequently find that the Sunday afternoon races spend more time watching me in my recliner than I spend returning the favor. 

There is a growing trend in sporting events today from those athletes that are believers in God to point heavenward when something is achieved.  Sometimes you can even read their lips as they give thanks to the Lord.  I have observed thanks being offered to God, Jesus, Lord and even Heaven from the mouths of very grateful athletes.  While I truly feel that this is a good practice, it does bring to my mind a question.

Is it possible that some of these athletes are praising God for the wrong reasons?  Being a sports observer makes it impossible for me to know the faith of any of those of whom I am speaking.  My remarks are not to be viewed as criticism of anyone participating in this activity.

My question revolves around the issue of praising God for our achievements.  Thanking God for helping us through life’s struggle is very important to remember.  We give Him due praises for the many ways He answers prayers, intervenes in our circumstances, provides solutions, and forgives our sins.  We honor the Lord for simply being our God; a very important practice that should be habitual for all people of faith.

 

But the temptation exists for the people of God to only remember to give Him thanks when things go the way in which we expect.  We offer prayers for His support, presence and encouragement, but then sometimes add a pinch of agenda into this recipe.  There are times when we become disappointed with the Lord because His answer to our prayers was not what we were hoping for. 

 

I have even seen people become quite angry with God and turn their lives away from Him because of an answer to prayer that was simply “not acceptable.”  It is a shame to see good people turn their backs on the Lord like this and it certainly must be upsetting to Him. 

 

I submit to you that we must learn to praise God even in our failures and frustrations.  Even in those times when things simply don’t go our way we should not see that as any indication that God is somehow working against us.  If the Bible is true in that He promises to never leave us or forsake us, then how could we possibly believe that our best interests are not at the center of His heart?  His amazing love, as exemplified on the cross of Christ, is an example of how much He truly cares for each and every one of us.  Since God is not only the author of love but is also love itself, then we can be assured that His answers to our prayers are nothing short of being precisely what is best.  Even when we don’t fully understand it, it is for our best and greatest benefit.

 

If that is true, then why don’t we see some of these athletes pointing to heaven who are on the losing side of their games?  Why don’t we see the guy lying on the ground giving thanks to the Lord for giving him the ability to be there and perform to his best abilities, even when the outcome is not favorable?

 

The danger here is in making a statement that suggests that God is with one player and against another.  If a pitcher throws a perfect game and gives thanks to God for that accomplishment, does that mean that God was working against the players from the other team who couldn’t reach base that day?  Is God the Lord of the game or of the players?  The pitcher here should thank God not for the accomplishment but for being with him and giving him the abilities to be a good pitcher.  The other team should thank God for their talents as well and the opportunity to be part of the game.  Either way, God wins!

 

Friends, giving thanks to God needs to be an aspect of our Christian lifestyle.  It should always be present in the things we say, do, and think.  He deserves our praises through thick and thin, highs and lows, sorrows and celebrations. 

 

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”  Psalm 95:6-7, NIV.  David’s words as recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:28-34 certainly apply here as well, and I’ll let you look that up for yourself! 

 

In the meantime, let our finger pointing practices be a visible sign of worship at all times as we give thanks to God who allows us to have the capabilities of surviving this thing called life, regardless of setbacks or victories. 

Posted September 15, 2008 by David N. Peppler, Sr. in Christian Lifestyle, Worship

2 responses to “Finger Pointing

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  1. Athletes pointing to the sky is a praise to God and an acknowledgement of his true existence. These gesture seen by millions can benefit humanity in many ways. Bottomline it makes non-believers true believers. If these guys can accomplish hard tasks on the field, mound, track, court and prasie GOD with a simple gesture that everyone watching can witness than let it keep moving. This is not a method of showing off or disrespect it’s a “Thank You GOD for giving me the talents and abilities to perform at a high level and none of this can be done without you!”

  2. I agree with you whole-heartedly, SBrown. Believe me, I am not at all against this gesture and know that it does much good in God’s Kingdom work. My reflection point is concerning how we seem to only be privy to see this when people have accomplished winning moments. My earnest prayer and assumption is that these athletes do this for the exact reasons you have expressed. I just want people of faith to be reminded that reasons to praise the Lord go beyond times of victory. If we have opportunities in the limelight to praise Him, by all means, take advantage and show your true devotion. But we should also praise Him in those quite times when nobody can see, even when one is not on top of the world. Thanks for the good point made!

    David Peppler, Sr.

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