Fantasy football was once a silly little game for sports nerds who were fascinated with obscure stats. It was a niche hobby that blended trash talking and cutting edge sports analytics, which…appealed to only a handful of college dudes with too much free time on their hands. Those days are long gone. It is now a billion dollar obsession for the masses. In many ways, fantasy football has changed the entire culture of the NFL. Suddenly, fans in Seattle have a vested interest in the outcome of the Miami game. Fans in Dallas are glued to injury reports from Buffalo. Sports radio, game casts, phone apps, websites – all generating millions of dollars – have changed the DNA of what was once the ultimate team sport.
Week in and week out, once die-hard supporters find themselves in the unique position of rooting against their home team in favor of their fantasy rosters. Regional bonds, historic rivalries, years of tradition… gone, lost to these new fantasy mercenaries.
In the grand scheme of things, NFL fan loyalty is not (and should not be) at the top of anyone’s list of the most egregious events in our world. But as a metaphor, this translates almost seamlessly into how the Bible describes our spiritual condition. Revelation says we have abandoned our first love. Hosea says we have pursued other lovers while forgetting our Husband. We continually sell out over and over again, running from our Savior in a thousand different directions, leaving the Church fractured and weak.
Ironically, the very thing we run from is the only thing worth uniting around. Jesus has always been the only person who, with open arms, embraces the prodigal, the whore, the sellout and the mercenary. The Church, with all her warts, is strongest when she stands united under the simple banner of ‘Jesus is Savior and Lord.’ We are sinners saved by grace, telling other sinners that there is hope, there is a cure. And this unity is worth fighting for.
“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” - 1 Corinthians 1:10.