Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m no athlete. Never have been, never will be. In fact, I once considered sports as, well, silly. Fun perhaps but silly all the same. I mean, really, it’s only a game and there will be another one. Whether it’s a college football game or a game of pick up basketball in the driveway, one thing is for certain: there is always another one!
As a mom of athletes, I have to confess that my perspective has changed. True, there is the danger of making sports the end all, be all of your life. An unhealthy perspective to be sure. But I’ve also realized my former disdain of all things athletic was misguided as well. There is tremendous value in sports and I’m not speaking only for those playing on an elite level. In my years sitting on the sidelines, in the bleachers and in my driveway watching my boys play everything from soccer to frisbee football, I see that playing sports has taught my boys many important lessons such as discipline, teamwork, and selflessness. So when offered the opportunity to read and review Game Day for the Glory of God by Stephen Altrogge I knew it was a book I would want to read and no doubt pass on to the athletes, fans and wannabes in my own family.
Altrogge begins with the most important purpose in life, and, get this, it is not sports. It is a life lived for the glory of God. Altrogge carefully and passionately explains our inability to live for God’s glory and His gracious provision in His Son Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, everything else, sports and otherwise, is meaningless.
From there, Altrogge sets forth his two main reasons for writing this book. One, sports is a gift to be enjoyed, and, two, sports can be a means of growing in godliness:
A football game is more than just twenty-two men engaging in sweaty combat on a grass battlefield. A football game is a furnace in which character is formed. The collisions on the field result in more than bruised muscles and busted fingers. They shape our character, in good ways and bad. Out of these collisions come pride, humility, arrogance, courage, perseverance, fear, and a host of other character attributes.
As Christians we are commanded to be like Jesus Christ in every facet of our lives, including the way we play sports. We are to pursue godliness. Godliness doesn’t come, however, by just getting out there and playing…No, godliness requires intentional and diligent pursuit. Sports provide and context for that to occur.
Altrogge is a self confessed sports fanatic and his love for the game, all games, shines throughout this book. He speaks of the source of all talent, the joy of sports, game day priorities, and how to win–and lose–well. As he writes of each aspect of sports participation, he does so with a reminder that we honor the Lord by our playing, a truth I have echoed to my own sons over and over again. The Bible tells us to glorify God in everything we do, and that includes how we play, how we win, how we lose, and how we watch a game.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on winners and losers as Altrogge discussed the temptations inherent in each. For instance, the winner is confronted with the temptations of achievement (I did it!), image (Look at me! I’m a winner!), and superiority (I’m the best!). By the same token, losers suffer the temptations to criticize, agonize, and shame. Both the winner and the loser can give in to sinful pride and both experiences offer opportunity to choose humility over pride.
Whether you are a sports fan or just married to one, a soccer mom like me, or a player yourself, I happily recommend this book! If you think you might interested in reading more on bringing glory to God in all things including sports, you can read an excerpt of the book here.
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….