It appears to be sports time in Minnesota. We have a new U of Minnesota football stadium for the Gophers. They’ve had a few games and they’ve been sold out. The Minnesota Twins have been packing out the Metrodome as they are trying to win their division and get into the playoffs. Go Twins! The Vikings are fired up with the addition of maybe the greatest quarterback of all time—Brett Farve—and the fans are also packing the stadium. The new Minnesota Twins stadium will open next year and I’m sure they’ll pack it. Minnesota’s basketball team is getting ready to start and I’m sure they’ll pack out the Target Center.
If you have ever gone to any of these events, they are fun and exciting. But it isn’t necessarily easy or cheap. Finding parking can be a challenge and represent a significant walk and expense—maybe twenty dollars or more just to park. The game tickets can cost fifty to hundreds of dollars. You may be paying six to eight bucks for a hot dog. To do something like this as a family event may cost you hundreds of dollars. I am not saying any of this is bad. To the contrary, these events can be a lot of fun. That’s why these stadiums are packed out despite the cost and energy it takes to participate in them.
As I watched the Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers last night and heard the roar of the cheering and excited crowd, I had a quick thought come to mind. “Doesn’t seem to be much of a recession in the stadiums.” They are packed at prices that I never would have believed could be sustained.
Every day that passes we approach the second coming of Jesus Christ. That happens at a time we call the last days. How long are the last days? That’s hard to speculate. The Bible teaches that God is patient for mankind to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Yes, He is patient, but there will come a day when that time of patience is over. The Bible has a lot to say about those days. In 2 Tim. 3:1it says: “You should also know this…that in the last days there will be very difficult times.” The Greek Word difficult means perilous—many hard things going on in the earth. But it means even more. It means that what is going on—the evil and lack of living for God—will reduce the strength of people to resist the evil that tempts them and diminishes their strength to do what they know in their hearts to do. It then describes what many will become like in these last days—descriptions that are not good, of which I will give you just one: “People will be… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
I am not equating anything regarding these sporting events as bad. What I am asking is this: Is there the same excitement to know the God of creation and the Savior of mankind? People make excuses for why they can’t come to church yet they go to extraordinary efforts to make time for the things that represent pleasure in their life. That is a sign of diminishing strength. They say they don’t have money—except maybe token gifts of change to give to God or good works—and yet they’ll spend enormous amounts of money on their pleasures. That is a sign of diminishing strength. Jesus predicted that. He said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” People put their time, effort, and money into what they value. They don’t have time to pray or read their Bible or engage in something that lifts their heart toward God in the morning, but they will make time to pick up a newspaper and a Starbucks and dedicate a half hour or more to that.
I say none of this to condemn. None of these things are inherently bad or evil. The Bible says that “God richly gives us all things to enjoy.” But even though He doesn’t mind if we have things and enjoy them, He doesn’t want things to have us—to dominate our thinking and pleasures only to diminish and supplant our craving and love for Him and His plans.
Can we return to our knees? Can we honestly open our heart to God? Can we ask Him to strengthen us to live for Him and have evidence of it in our life? Things are okay when and only when our focus is God and His plan as the center of our life. If we return to our knees with sincerity, openness, and repentance if necessary, then He can refresh our love and impart His strength and a renewed focus to live for Him.
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.