I would like to share some interesting quotes with you about sports, games, etc. This may be a new idea for many Seventh- day Adventists, as I can remember a time after my family’s conversion when I participated in almost all of these things, without a second thought. What I later found out was shocking, and I confess I have compromised since then. But I cannot wait any longer to share this with all of you, as I believe that it is a test for God’s last- day people. First of all, let us look at a quote that talks about some modern sports. ‘Messages to young people,’ pg 213; “The public feeling is that manual labor is degrading, yet men may exert themselves as much as they choose at cricket, baseball, or in pugilistic contests, without being regarded as degraded. Satan is delighted when he sees human beings using their physical and mental powers in that which does not educate, which is not useful, which does not help them to be a blessing to those who need their help. While the youth are becoming expert in games that are of no real value to themselves or to others, Satan is playing the game of life for their souls, taking from them the talents that God has given them, and placing in their stead his own evil attributes.” Here is another quote on sports, it is from ‘Fundamentals of Christian education,’ pg 229; “ I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where he devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in the amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things.”
Will we follow a path where our Lord would not walk? I no longer will. Now I will address the topic of games. We have all likely played table games at church socials, etc., but have we ever considered whether it is glorifying God? Take this quote for instance. It is from ‘Messages to young people,’ pg 392; “ There are amusements, such as dancing, card- playing, chess, checkers, etc., which we cannot approve, because Heaven condemns them. These amusements open the door for great evil. They are not beneficial in their tendency, but have an exciting influence, producing in some minds a passion for those plays which lead to gambling and dissipation. All such plays should be condemned by Christians, and something perfectly harmless should be substituted in their place.” Chess, checkers and card playing with dancing? I used to love playing checkers, and did it often. I was shocked when my family found this quote, and we immediately decided that we would no longer play these types of games. You know, there are other things that lead to gambling as well. Have you ever thought of games where the dice are used, or a spinning wheel? Both of these things are used in commonplace gambling. We will have to choose our own wisdom, or “The wisdom that is from above.” I would also go so far as to say that there are other games that are not acceptable. Look at this quote from 2 Corinthians 10:12; “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” Does that sound like competition to you? I think we could all agree that most table games and card games are competitive. Look at this quote from ‘Messages to young people,’ pg 380; “Expertness in handling cards often leads to a desire to put this knowledge and tact to some use for personal benefit.” Think of who these games glorify? Is it God? I am afraid not. Here is another quote from John 5:44; “How can ye believe, which receive honor of one another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” Here is a very solemn quote, it is on page 384 of the same book; “Names are registered upon the church-books upon earth, but not in the book of life. I saw that there is not one in twenty of the youth who knows what experimental religion is.” I used to wonder what that ‘Experimental’ meant. Now I know. It means that we should take religion, and, instead of just sitting it on a shelf to look at, we need to get our hands dirty, and dig in! I hope that the above quote will not apply to us, but that we will be the one, out of the twenty! Now you may ask, and rightfully so, ‘So what should we do for recreation?’ God has an exciting amount of ideas for us! Let us look at this quote from ‘Education,’ pg 207; “There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure, and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work, and thus proves a hindrance to life’s true success.”
Here is an interesting quote from ‘Messages to young people,’ page 363; “Christians should be the most cheerful and happy people that live. They may have the consciousness that God is their father and their everlasting friend.” Again, on page 364; “The religion of Christ is cheering and elevating in its influence. It is above everything like foolish jesting and joking, vain and frivolous chit-chat.” Here is another quote from page 365; “God has surrounded us with nature’s beautiful scenery to attract and interest the mind. It is His design that we should associate the glories of nature with His character.” Again, on page 381; “ Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit..” “The hours so often spent in amusement that refreshes neither body nor soul should be spent in visiting the poor, the sick, and the suffering, or in seeking to help some one who is in need.” Again, on page 387; “Gatherings for social intercourse are made in the highest degree profitable and instructive when those who meet together have the love of God glowing in their hearts; when they meet to exchange thoughts in regard to the word of God, or to consider methods for advancing His work and doing good to their fellow men.” And for our last quote, turn to page 390; “Christ rejoices when the thoughts of the young are occupied by the grand and ennobling themes of salvation.” Do you want to have Christ rejoice at your actions? I sure would. I invite you to join with me in putting all these things away that do not glorify God, but ourselves instead, and turn rather to His wonderful alternatives! God bless, as we seek to do His will!
Your Brother in Christ,