See the Kingdom, Taste the Kingdom
Why are athletes paid so much?
Josh, Ryan, and I were talking about this question the other day and we came up with two different answers:
- Athletes are a kind of modern artist, and we are a culture seeking beauty, hence the obsession and high salaries.
- Sport and the pursuit of victory are one of the ways we can experience a taste of the victory of Heaven.
I’d like to take a quick look into the second point and have the beauty topic be a later blogpost...
Two years ago, when the Broncos won the Super Bowl, we had some people over to watch the game, one of whom was Fr. Matt Book. At the end of the night, Father closed us out in prayer. His prayer consisted of thanks – thanks for friendship and thanks for the “taste of the glory and victory of Heaven.” This stuck with me…
It is innately built into us that we want to be in Heaven. We want to be with God. We want to play a part in His victory over sin and death.
It is in this innate desire prescribed on every heart that I think the obsession for sports arises. Wanting to taste this ultimate victory, we find ourselves trying to satisfy it with these little victories, like your favorite team winning the Super Bowl (Go Broncos!).
Peter the Apostle has a similar experience with this during the Transfiguration. Jesus is with Moses and Elijah in a moment of supreme glory, and Peter wants to hold onto this moment for as long as he can. He suggests building tents in order to house their presence and to maintain that mountain top sensation for as long as he could. But shortly there after the glory ends and everything goes back to normal and they must head back down the mountain.
I think God wants us to experience the highs and lows of winning and losing. We need to experience failure and victory to better understand His victory, the victory that He invites us into.
"We need to experience failure and victory to better understand His victory, the victory that He invites us into."
But we need to know that these moments of achievement are meant to call us on to more. We need to respond to the invitation that He offers. If we only ever seek the next worldly victory, then we are no different from the crack addict searching for his next high. I think society’s glorification of these victories is what causes athletes' paychecks to grow to astronomical heights.
In conclusion: Rejoice in these victories, but do not glorify them. Thank God for the taste of Heaven’s triumph, but know they are calling you into the ultimate victory.
How often do we find ourselves like Peter wanting to hold onto those moments of glory without ever going back down the mountain in order to love, serve, and die for the people in our Jerusalem?
What other ways do you think God uses athletes and sports to draw us closer to Him?