Football season is upon us. As August yields to September and the thermometer surrenders a few degrees, we know that we are ready for some football.
I have a friend who was a pastor in Chapel Hill, and he noted an interesting correlation. The people at his church were much more spiritually sensitive when the Tar Heels were winning. In football season or basketball season, as long as the Heels were winning, the spirit of the church was thriving.
I'm not sure what that really means. Could the depth of spiritual commitment really be subject to the feelings of a sports fan? We are all happier when our teams are winning, and that could translate into more sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Maybe our hearts are more open to him when we are joyful.
(There is also a lot of evidence that hardship draws us to God more than good times.)
But if a joyful spirit helps us listen to God and cooperate with him, maybe we should be looking for more ways to cultivate our joy. Why should we let our spirituality be held hostage to a win-loss record?
I'm still going to pull for my football teams this fall. And I will try to surrender my heart to the Lord, regardless of what happens on the gridiron.