You shall have no other gods before Me
It is okay to like sports. It is another thing for sports to become your god. All over the world are ancient stadiums that have hosted all types of events. Many modern day stadiums still use the architecture designs of the old Roman stadiums. In Rome, Italy the Circus Maximus stood as Rome’s largest venue measuring 2,037 x 387 feet. It could hold a crowd of 150,000+. NASCAR’s largest track is the Bristol Tennessee Motor Speedway with a capacity of 146,000, but the largest venue in the world is the Indianapolis Speedway with permanent seating for 257,325 people. The largest football stadium is still the University of Michigan stadium with a capacity of 107,601. The largest soccer stadium is located in North Korea with a capacity of 114,000.
The Romans would dedicate the games and events to the gods. It is not uncommon to hear sports fans today make reference to “the sports gods”, “the gods of football” or “the golf gods”. When we follow the money” it is becomes very obvious just how much man worships his games. The global sports market consists of many subcategories. The Sports Apparel global market is estimated at $191 billion dollars; Sports Equipment $143 billion dollars; Athletic Shoes $50.9 billion; Sports Betting; Broadcasting; but all total it is calculated to be somewhere around a $500-600 billion dollar global industry.
The highest paid athlete in the world is the professional soccer player Lionel Messi who makes $75 million salary/winnings and $55 million in endorsements. Runner-up is basketball player LeBron James making $41.2 million salary/winnings and $80 million in endorsements. According statista.com (which is the source for these numbers), the Dallas Cowboys have the highest franchise value of any sport team in the world worth $5.7 billion dollars.
Do you want to learn one more figure that will blow your mind? The global sports market is a subcategory of the global recreation market which is estimated to be $1,900.67 billion in 2023.
It is not hard to spot from these statistics that there is a worldwide problem of offering worship to the gods of sport and recreation.
Several passages come to mind:
“… You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” – Matthew 4:10
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3
“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matthew 6:24
“The first of all the commandments is: 'HEAR, O ISRAEL, THE LORD OUR GOD, THE LORD IS ONE. AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.' This is the first commandment.” – Mark 12:29-30
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Very eye opening wouldn’t you say?