Are Sports and Hobbies a Waste of Time?

How do I know if a hobby or sport is sinful?

“I think if you are failing at church, but succeeding at a computer game, or the people in your church don’t know you but you’re a hero on Instagram, I’d say that’s a mark of real failure. So, what William Cary was looking for in that quote I think was really pushing us to, we need to succeed mostly in the most important things, that’s our most important pursuit.”


We live in a privileged age in which we can indulge, and in fact are expected to indulge, in all kinds of sports and hobbies. However, many of these pursuits may seem like they do not honor God. Christians often question the validity of how they spend the hours they are not working or evangelizing. How can we as Christians determine if we are sinning in the sports and hobbies we participate in? That’s the kind of question I attempt to answer here.

Are hobbies or sports a waste of time or sinful?

Hobbies and sports can be a waste of time, but they are not necessarily a waste of time. They can be sinful, they’re not necessarily sinful. So, I think God has given us pleasures to enjoy in this world and sports and hobbies are among those pleasures, except for the few for whom they’re a real vocation, but for most of us these things are pleasures and I think we’re free to enjoy the pleasures God gives us. However, like any good pleasure, they can become captivating, they can become idolatrous, they can take on too prominent a position in our lives. So, God didn’t put us here on this earth so we could enjoy sports and recreational, God didn’t put us in this world so we could go about our hobbies. We have bigger work to do in this world. So I think we have to measure our hobbies in light of the main purpose for which God has created us.

How do we know if a hobby or sport is sinful or becoming an idol?

I’d say a hobby has tipped over into idolatry when it’s a thing that really has your heart. When you are more interested in doing that than the more important things in life. So, let’s say you’re a parent. Your children, your spouse, your children, that’s your foremost responsibility in life. If your hobby has so taken over that now you’re neglecting your marriage, you’re neglecting you’re children, that’s a very good sign that it has now tipped over into idolatry. It has taken on undue prominence in your life. There’s other things that God calls us to that, we have to work, God didn’t put us in this world to relax, he put us in this world to work, right. He created Adam and Eve, told them to be fruitful and multiply, to spread out over the earth and to subdue it. That’s a call to work, not to relaxation. So, relaxation is a part of it, but the key to what we do is work, we labor. Labor is harder now than it was in a perfect world, but it’s still what we’re called to do. So, I think it’s just that balance of how much time, how much attention? When I’m not thinking about anything else, is my heart just constantly drawn back to what I could be doing recreationally? Those are the sorts of keys I’d look for in my own heart, in my own mind.

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