Since I was a young boy growing up in Pittsburgh, I wanted to work for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Pittsburgh Penguins. A family friend of ours was Mike Lange, who is a Hall of Fame announcer for the Pittsburgh Penguins. As a boy playing sports with his son, I would see Mr. Lange when he attended our games and get-togethers. I always admired him as a person, but I also admired the two championship rings that he always wore. On several occasions, Mr. Lange let me wear his Stanley Cup Championship rings on my fingers. It was those moments when I knew that all I wanted was to win a ring of my own.
Winning became a border-line obsession for me. I would watch professional and college teams win championships, and I would envy their rings. To make the desire more intense, my uncle had earned a national championship ring with the Ohio State Buckeyes’ 1961 football team. My friend, who works for the Pittsburgh Steelers, had earned two Super Bowl rings—one for each hand. Then another friend, my college advisor and many of my co-workers at the Washington Wizards all had championship rings!
Winning a championship ring had become my idol. How can I win my own ring? What would it take for me to join a winning team? These thoughts went through my head daily, until I realized that I shouldn’t be focusing my attention on perishable items that were coveted by the world.
This idol had become my life. I realized while preparing a sermon one day that my focus shouldn’t be set on winning a ring but rather on glorifying God. God doesn’t care about what trophies or medals we earn, how famous we are or how many people praise our accomplishments. His love for us is unconditional, and we should be doing everything in our power to please Him, not ourselves. Our focus should not rely on the idols in our lives. Our focus should be on Jesus.
- What idols do you have in your life?
- How do idols affect your relationship with God?
- How can you glorify God on and off the field or court?
“Dear Lord, forgive me for worshiping material items in my life. Please grant me the strength and the wisdom to always seek Your glorification in all my actions. Thank you for loving me even when my eyes are not fixed on you. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.”