Football season is in full swing, whether high school, college or the pros. Stadiums are filling up with excited fans all across this country as they prepare to cheer their teams to victory.
It is funny what people will do for their teams. Some paint their faces. Some decorate their cars. Some set up tailgate barbecues that would rival many small-town diners. Almost all will at least wear their team colors.
Football has been called a religion here in the South. Boys and young men who star for their high-school and college teams often are revered by young and old alike.
I enjoy football. I attend every home game at Bryan County High School as I am the public-address announcer. I try to get the fans excited when the home team does something good. I try to pump the fans and team up when things may not be going so well. I also attend an occasional college game and watch some professional football on television.
But I have to tell you this: I do my best to make certain that my priorities are in order. As a pastor, I have learned through the years that whether their team wins the big game determines if some people have a good week. I even have known church members who would not attend on Sunday if their teams lost on Saturday.
When our lives revolve around a sporting event, it is a pretty good sign that our priorities are not in order. Last Sunday, I preached from this verse that is found in the midst of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
In my message, I tried to remind our church that God wants us to make him our first priority in life. The Lord wants us to put him before even our families and our jobs, much less our hobbies and our teams. But in that call to us, he gives us the great promise that he will care for us when we put him first.
In the context surrounding this verse, Jesus reminded his listeners that God takes care of flowers and birds. He provides everything that they need. And you and I are of much greater value to him than flowers and birds. We can trust him to meet every need.
But there are times when that is hard. We have a tendency to put other things first. God gently and lovingly reminds us that he is to be our first priority. And when we make him such, he will take care of us. I challenge you to put God first in your life. You will never regret it, for he is good to his children.
As Paul reminded us, we can cast every care on him, “for he cares for you.”