So why don't I like ESPN? I can count on CBS to replay nearly every play of any significance immediately. Not just touchdowns either. They will show the touchdown from several angles, then show the quarterback as he passed, or the line as they opened the holes for the runner, or any other contributing factor. If there is a penalty, we see it happen. If there was an excellent block, we see the block. If a defender made an amazing move around a lineman, we see the move.
ESPN? I doubt that even half the plays are shown again. Instead, we get an interview with someone on the sideline who might possibly have something to do with the game, but more likely doesn’t—he just happens to be famous. Or we get an update from a game we chose not to watch and have to watch a piece of anyway rather than a replay of our chosen game. Most of the time, we never get the replay, even if it was a 50 yard run to set the team up with first and goal.
On ESPN the commentators talk about every game except the one we are watching. In fact, they sometimes talk about a different sport altogether. We hear about other players, other coaches, and other schools—anything but the game we are watching. We are told the records of every Heisman hopeful, even if they are not playing in our game. We know which coach played for which other coaches, even if they are not coaching our team. And they can’t even do it with good grammar.
But sometimes we’re stuck. It’s the only place we can see our team play—and win, we hope, despite not being able to see the instant replays in a timely fashion and at a meaningful angle.
I guess a lot of people don’t mind. They are putting up with the same things at the church they attend. They say they are Christians but their preachers present sermons about societal ills—the ones deemed politically correct to talk about--about love and acceptance of everything and everyone no matter how many of Christ’s commands they break, and never once mention the name of the Savior they claim to worship—Rotary Club talks, inspirational talks, anything but a sermon. They are handed pamphlets that some board somewhere else decided they needed to study rather than the Word of God, and certainly nothing actually relevant to that particular group and its needs. If they learn anything, it’s about another game altogether, not God’s.
Maybe these folks don’t know what to look for. They expect entertainment rather than edification, emotion rather than instruction, famous people and rip-roaring religious fervor, along with a meal or two to keep the belly from growling. Jesus had some choice things to say about people like that. Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal” John 6:26-27. It isn’t about the feel-good physical, he told them, it’s about ME!
On Sunday mornings, I want to hear about my Lord. I want to study the Word of God and learn more from it than I knew the day before. On the other hand, I don’t mind a repeat of an old lesson, perhaps from a new angle, and certainly prefer that to an interview on the sideline with someone who is supposed to be “famous” in the religious world. Big name preachers can sin the same as the rest of us.
And you know what? We CAN turn this channel. We can look for something else. You can look for something else. Give me the simple truth of the gospel and the simple worship of those people long ago. Why don’t you come with me so we can find it together? Nothing else can fill your soul quite the same way.
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh John 6:48-51.