This is satire. Only actually do these things under the supervision of a professional theologian.
The season is upon us. Apps are being downloaded. Injuries are being mourned. Strategies are being strategized. Football – nay, Fantasy Football – is here, and millions across the world will go head to head, standing on the shoulders of actual athletes with actual talent. Here are some great tools to build a solid, biblical league.
1. Don’t Be Unbalanced. Make sure the league dues are not so much that the losers have to take their kids out of Christian school. But also make it enough that participants are anxiously and analytically pondering the relationship between divine sovereignty and human responsibility with every decision they make (Rom. 9:19-20).
2. Don’t Be Greedy. Give 10% of all dues to a local church of your choice. Obviously (Mal. 3:10). But then pay that 10% again to the pot, because $500 is $500. But then give an extra $5 to the church because 10% is 10%. And so on, back and forth, until you’re dealing with fractions of a cent.
3. Throw Context to the Wind. We all know that Amos 3:7, which says, “the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets,” doesn’t mean that God will tell you which players to draft, or who to play each game. But … just in case, God please, please, please in this moment if that’s what it means just somehow tell me if I should risk drafting Jason Witten this season. God I’m calling on your promises in this moment.
4. Love Your Neighbor. Every time someone drafts a player, say “Wow, great pick.” Paul calls us to speak words that “give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). In fact, affirm every single draft everyone makes with “Nice.” “Oh, wow.” “Such a great player.” Everyone will be really uplifted and just encouraged.
5. Pray for the Players. When a player is drafted, pray out loud so that everyone can hear, “Lord, keep them safe from injury this season, and guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:7). But if the player wasn’t drafted by you, pray “Lord, guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and if it’s your will, make yourself known to them through physical suffering, which you tell us is a blessing” (James 1:2-3). Make eye contact with each person as you prompt an in-unison “Amen.”
6. Be a Christian. Do everything you can to draft Tim Tebow. Wait, is he playing? I don’t care. Just get him. Pray for Tebow. Where is he? I can’t find him on my draft thingy. I don’t even know why I signed up to play this year…
7. Make it Exilic. Listen, we’re talking the Daniel diet here (Dan. 1:12-13). Whether it’s the draft party, or just getting together for a game, have everyone bring a bowl of herbs or vegetables – they could bring oregano, kale, beets, or if you feel like getting missional and engaging culture, mushrooms (the host should provide water).
8. Make it Filling. When everyone is on their way, and you realize how terrible of an idea herbs and vegetables is, and you order pizza, make sure you order enough for everyone. When Agabus prophesied about the severe famine “over the entire Roman world” (read: football night), “the disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help” (Acts 11:27-29). Be the church. Feed your league.
9. Send a Text When a Friend Loses. Every time your friend loses a game, text them, “Your identity is still in Christ (Gal. 2:20). Praying for you.” He will be edified in the Lord.
10. Send a Text When You Win. Every time you win against an opponent, text them, “Winning isn’t everything. Our ultimate victory is in Christ (1 Cor. 15:57). Pray that I remember that, since I won.” Then they won’t feel like such a loser, even though they had Adrian Peterson, who outperformed all of your running backs, and they still lost. I mean, come on…
11. Get Up and walk Out When You Lose. When Jesus didn’t want to be around people, “he … dismissed them, [and] he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matt. 14:23). So, when you lose, just leave the party, go home, and don’t respond to any texts or calls from people in your league. People will understand that you are praying, not being passive-aggressive.
The Trash Talk
12. Make it Biblical. “This is going to be red-sea-crushing-the-Egyptian-army type of situation. And you’re Egypt, so you might want to humble yourself (Rom. 9:17). And yes, Matt Forte is Moses. And Tom Brady is Pharaoh.” That way, your opponent will be thinking about each game biblically. Try to speak about each player only with biblical names, and each game only as a different biblical story.
13. Make it Theological. “I’m so happy that God elected me to win against you tonight. I delight in that. God delights in that.” Then send them this link, saying “It is fixed.” It will both fix their eyes on Christ through the preaching of the word, and psych them out. Win-win.
14. Make it Apostolic. “This boasting of mine will not be silenced” (2 Cor. 11:10).
15. Trade for Names. I’m not talking about drafting well-known players. I’m talking about doing everything you can to get Dezman Moses, Joseph Randle, Isaiah Frey, etc. You get the point. Get the biblical names. God shows his strength through faithful weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
16. Listen to God. Listen, God gave me a word for you, and it was that you need Eric Decker and I need Calvin Johnson, so just stop grieving the Spirit and make the trade (Eph. 4:30).
17. Trade by Grace. You have to make every trade requested of you on the spot. Otherwise you’re a legalist (Eph. 2:8-9).
18. Be a Gracious Winner. If you win in your league, limit your celebrations by asking yourself the question, “How in-your-face would Matthias’s celebration have been when the Apostles cast lots for him to be the 12th disciple over Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and he won?” (Acts 1:23) I think we all know the answer to that question … I imagine, at maximum, Matthias gave a humble but silent smirk as the disciples cheered his victory and hoisted him up on their shoulders, affirming his nod of gracious acceptance as Joseph/Barsabbas/Justus walked away defeated. But not more than that.
19. Give Away the Money. If your league prize is a generous monetary prize – say, $1,000 – give it all to the runner up’s church, with the stipulation that a deacon read a note during the announcements which reads, “This gift is given in honor of Jerry, who lost in his Fantasy league with real Christian character, and in so doing said a lot to our league about Tenth Baptist Church. Signed, Members of League: I’m The Captain Now.”
20. Have Fun. This football season reminds me that God works in seasons, and that means that fantasy football is a good and biblical gift that we should participate in, as long as we follow the above parameters (Psalm 1:3). So have a good, godly, fun season this year. And I encourage you to print this article and, before every game, “read aloud everything on this scroll” (Jer. 51:61).