Did God Drop the Ball?

I came across a sports article this week that speaks volumes as to what is being preached in the common church today.  The article (you can see it HERE) was regarding Steve Johnson, a receiver for the Buffalo Bills (an American football team).  Apparently, toward the end of a recent game Johnson had a chance to make a heroic catch and win the game with a last-minute score.  The only problem is, he dropped the ball.  It landed in his arms and bounced out again.  So the Buffalo Bills didn’t score, and they lost the game.  So how does this event reflect on modern-day preaching?  After the game, Steve Johnson blamed God for the drop!  Later in the day Johnson sent a Twitter message to God.  It read, “”I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!!” AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO…”

As amazing as this statement is, it should be expected.  If the messages I hear coming from my radio and the popular christian books are correct, God should have made Johnson catch the ball!  Why?  Modern preaching is all merit based.  “If you do this…God will do that… If you obey, God will bless… If you tithe, God will repay with more… If you praise, God will give you more to praise about.”  Steve Johnson (if he is being honest) gives God obedience and regular praise throughout the day, and yet,  no blessing that day!  The formula preachers quacking from the pulpit will immediately try to identify what component of the formula wasn’t performed correctly.  Did Johnson not have enough faith?  Maybe he forgot to sing praises before bed the night before?  Perhaps God knew that a catch like that would earn him more money in the next contract, and He knew Johnson wasn’t ready to handle that kind of money yet.  “It has to be something!”  they will say, “The formula will always work.  It’s a promise from God!”  Well, no, it isn’t.  If that were the case, and health and healing were a reward from God, we would have the very old (yet still healthy) disciples of Jesus running around still with us today.  The fact is, believers suffer persecution and hard times.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.  Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. Hebrews 11:13-16  and 35-38

Wow!  Johnson is furious at dropping a ball, and yet look at believers of the past.  What do you think someone getting sawn in half for the name of Christ would have to say about poor Steve Johnson’s terrible day?  The problem is, Johnson has probably never heard this passage from Hebrews discussed from the pulpit.  He has probably never encountered the biblical truth that God is not a man-centered God who sits in the heavenlies wanting to dote upon His children, if only they would obey and praise enough!  The true Lord (the God of the Bible) is not a formula, and he does not live to fulfill every desire of man.  The true Lord commands us to repent and believe, and then live with Him as Lord, submitting in contentment to all He sends our way.

The rant by Johnson is fully justified if God truly is a formula-driven Santa Claus in the sky the way He is portrayed to be.  I am happy to report that God is so much bigger, and more important, than us or our needs.  Folks, read your Bible and pay attention to His focus and His priorities.  If you happen to know Steve Johnson, could you please give him a Bible?  You might suggest he start reading it in Hebrews…

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8 Comments on “Did God Drop the Ball?”

  1. Delwyn X. Campbell Says:

    Hey brother,
    I was going through my subscriptions, and, somehow, I diodn’t get notified about your reply. As I suspected, a month later, and no one remembers, not even me :). From the standpoint of maturity, I agree that we should not let the moment manage our mouth. You know how young people get though. I hope that Bro. Johnson did learn teh importance of taming the tongue, or, in this case, the tweet!

    Reply

  2. Delwyn X. Campbell Says:

    Well, I saw the video, and the Jesus Christ whom ,I worship looked like none of those guys in that video. He doesn’t have blue eyes or European features. I’m glad that you don’t have to look like Him on the outside to make it into heaven. You sure better make sure that you look like HIm on the inside though. Apeaking of which, did you contact brother Johnsoon about what he wrote? You see, to be biblically correct, since you had a problem with his tweet, you were supposed to go to him alone and discuss it with him, and pray that he will recognize his error and repent. If, on the other hand, yo just go out in the public and fuss about what he did, you are a slanderer. “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Pro 10:18 NKJV). If you want to be biblically faithful in your public commentary, then “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2Ti 4:2 NKJV).

    Reply

  3. revivalandreformation Says:

    Hi Delwyn,

    Thanks for your comment, however, it seems you have either a bone to pick, a really bad day or…?
    First off, I personally do not watch TV, let alone football, I have no idea who Steve Johnson is and I surely had no idea he was “black”. Let me make one point clear with you Delwyn, and anyone else reading this comment, I hate racism.

    Don’t go there ever.

    That is a sore point with me, for racism is one of my buttons BIG time. I hate everything to do with racism. I cannot stand discrimination in any form. I have no use for racists and I hope that one day any one who has suffered racism will be blessed extra for their suffering. I love black people. I always have. I love your passion and exuberance. I have no problem with anyone’s skin colour. To judge a man on the basis of his skin is sick. I have many black friends, Chinese friends, Japanese friends, Korean friends, Fijian friends…I really could care less what colour one’s skin is…all that matters is their heart.

    Now, we are known by our fruit. This is true, this is Biblical. If the fruit is bad, then the roots are bad. One cannot expect to find good fruit on a bad tree. This Johnson character had a choice of doing things the right way and the wrong way. He, unfortunately did this the wrong way and discredited Christ in doing so. Now his comment is in Internet land and it can never be taken back. We all have bad days, everyone of us. We all are vile sinners saved by grace and we do not deserve God’s mercy. I am no better than Johnson, I am no more righteous than anyone else. My righteousness is but filthy rags and I can only stand on Christ’s righteousness to save me. Is Johnson saved? I don’t know, but as ChurchSalt said, his behaviour is not representative of a saved and humble man. I will go as far as to say, it is my opinion that very few if any athletes are saved. Why do I say this? Think about their lifestyle, their environment and what they have to do on a daily basis.
    They focus on self 24/7. They focus on their bodies, the fans, beating and hurting the “enemy”, money and public image. Football is famous for scantily clad cheerleaders that make most prostitutes look modest. How can a truly saved Christian spend time in this environment? Is he witnessing to those around him and if he is, how can he tell his brothers to change their lives as long as he is going to the same parties as they are, tackling the same opponents they are, collecting millions of dollars as they are. Everything about professional sports stands in direct opposition against Christ. And I am not talking out of ignorance, I lived sports, I breathed sports. I played hockey, baseball, soccer. I wrestled and was very good at it. I worked out with weights since I was 12 years old. I dead-lifted over 400 pounds at one point. Then God broke me and opened my eyes to what I was doing. As I was sitting in the weight-room, I felt Him lay on my heart, “Look around, tell me what you see.” My eyes were opened and all I saw was vanity. Plain vanity. It was then I realized that I couldn’t do this stuff anymore. I changed right there and never looked back.

    Delwyn, I am probably hitting a lot of nerves here, but please understand what I am saying. Everything is to God’s glory. We will stand before Him one day and give account. What can a hockey player or football player say to God when he demands accountability? Will He care about the records? Will He care that Johnson dropped the ball?

    Three people die every second, Delwyn, think about that. Three people! How many people will go to hell while Johnson is doing barbell curls? How many people will go to hell while Johnson is collecting his millions? How dare this man blame God for his mistake? This is nothing more than a rich spoiled brat blaming someone else for his blunder.

    Let’s call a spade a spade here and admit that just because he’s black, and just because you like football and just because you look up to this guy with admiration doesn’t make what he did right. He was wrong. He slapped Jesus Christ in the face and embarrassed Him with his immaturity. That my point. Period.

    Let me know what you think…

    Reply

    • Delwyn X. Campbell Says:

      I don’t look up to him or admire him; in fact, since he does not play for Da Bears, I did not even know who he was until this game. As far as him blamimg God, I did not read that he said, “God, why did you make me drop the ball?” What he said was, “This is how you do me? You exxpect me to learn from this?”

      Now, as I recall, we often teach that we are expected to learn from adversity. Since Johnson was a starter, I must assume that he is normally a sure-handed receiver. This time, inexplicably, he dropped what appears to have been an easy catch. This is no different from what spiritually-minded people asked after a painful incident, “what was God saying through this horrible event?”

      Regarding sports and Christian athletes, I did not play any of the Big 4 in high school, but ran track. My track coach, Dave Chastain, was the leader of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at my school, Culver Miltary Academy. I have known of people, who were known for their Christian witness, people like Mike Singletary, former middle linebacker for the Bears, along with Reggie White, the late defensive star for the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles. Tony Dungy, former coach for the Indianapolis Colts, whom I dislike (the Colts, not Dungy), is also known for his discipleship.

      I’m sorry, brother, I don’t share your distain for athletics, and regarding the number of people who are going to hell while he vented, the answer is, the same number as went while you were fulminating about him, so what’s your point, that you feel pretty good about yourself since you didn’t blame God for your article? Bottom line, he’s a young guy, he got frustrated and embarrased, and he vented – that is what people do on Twitter. A week from now, no one will remember it but you and me. By the way, I read the entire series of tweets, and, in the end, he said that he did learn from this experience.

      Reply

      • revivalandreformation Says:

        Take a look at this video, Delwyn. Tell me, which “Jesus” do you follow? Not trying to offend you unless it brings out some humility.

        Love in Christ,

        R&R

  4. revivalandreformation Says:

    But…what would Joel Osteen say, and maybe Creflo Dollar? Wouldn’t they say something was wrong, that this Steve didn’t have enough faith? Did he fill up with faith empowering verse before the game? You see, that’s the problem. He didn’t connect with God’s phone number is all!

    Of course, the sarcasm in my comment is so thick it would take hip waders to get through, but honestly, what a slap in the face of a good and loving God! To blame God internationally for a missed catch? Maybe Steve should live the life of a true Christian, humble himself, stop collecting millions of dollars for playing a game for children and get out from among them???

    This is why the “church” is being ridiculed by all…this is what the world thinks is God’s rep in sports. Pathetic.

    Reply

    • Delwyn X. Campbell Says:

      Let me guess, you know, somehow (perhaps you hang out with Johnson), that he is NOT a true Christian…. After all, you said, “Maybe Steve should live the life of a true Christian, humble himself, stop collecting millions of dollars for playing a game for children and get out from among them???” I no more know whether Johnson is tue than I know if you are, or James Dobson is. I do know that Stve Johnson is the descendant of people who truly trusted God through their suffering, while other people claimed that God gave them teh right totreat Johnson’s great great great great grandparents like chattel. If he’s wrong about God, I think so is every last American Christian who seems to think that Christianity and the U.S. political system walk arm in arm, especially as it is expressed by the Republican party. The only difference, as I see things, between the typical prosperity preacher, and the conservative evangelical, is the skin he’s in. Black folks HOPE God will occassionally play Santa for us, while white folk KNOW that He has for over 200 years.

      So lay off Steve Johnson, for at the end of it all, after he asked “Why God?” he still said “Thank you.” In the midst of his failure, he still gave thanks. Do you? Do I??

      Reply

      • ChurchSalt Says:

        Hi Delwyn. You posted this as a reply to the article, but I am guessing you are giving reply to Revival & Reformation’s comment, as you quote him instead of me in your refutation. Myself, I do not know if Steve Johnson is a true believer or not. Maybe he had a really bad day and is furious with God. But is that the kind of fruit you would expect to see from someone who has humbled himself before our Lord and acknowledged his sin before the Throne? You have to admit, he made it crystal clear that his view of God is the very unbiblical idea of “if I praise you, you have to Bless me.”
        As far as politics and the Republican Party, I am not quite sure how they play into Johnson dropping a football and then stating that God owes him blessings. And I will be honest with you, I also don’t understand how the color of Johnson’s skin has anything to do with him thinking he has earned something with God. Does your skin color entitle you to certain divine favors? Does mine? Are some of us saved by grace and others by race? We are all sinners, and our Lord isn’t in debt to any of us for anything, regardless of color, gender, political views or anything else.
        As for your last statement regarding thanksgiving, I am quite confident that Johnson’s “Thanks, though!” statement was made in sarcasm given the context of his message. I still think his statement perfectly illustrates the results of a man-centered message, rather than the humbling reality of our sin and helplessness before a Holy God who has mercifully sent a savior.

        As always, thanks for stopping in!

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