Cody was telling me about an article he read about a Jewish school's basketball team. The school realized at the beginning of the season that because of the league they were in, it was possible that games might be scheduled on Friday nights or Saturdays, times that Sabbath law would forbid them from playing. And the school determined that if that happened, they would forfeit the game instead of play. I think that's a mature decision to make.
But, the team ended up doing remarkably well. In fact, they got to some important play-off games and uh-oh, the bad situation happened. A play-off game was scheduled for 9 PM on a Friday night. The school did not protest. Their stance had been outlined clearly from the beginning. But, a few of the team parents got together and sued the league in order to get the game rescheduled to a time when the Sabbath would not prevent them from playing. They won, the game was rescheduled for 2PM Friday (before sundown), and the kids missed an opportunity for a beautiful (but very hard) lesson.
Well, I guess the kids did learn a lesson, but it's not the one I would have wanted my own kids to learn. They learned to put themselves first, demand their "rights", and sue over any perceived religious persecution. They could have learned that basketball is fun, and winning is even more fun, but humbly submitting to our first commitment of serving and obeying God is the most important thing in our lives. Sometimes our commitment to God involves sacrifice. Not everyone in the world is going to tailor their schedules to fit our religious beliefs, and I don't think we should expect them to do so.
I'm sure lots of people might see it differently. I can definitely see both sides of the matter, and I do think it's a shame to miss out on a play-off game. But I don't think we can expect the world to fit our lives as God-followers like a glove on a hand. The ways of the world and the ways of God are vastly different. This type of conflict is going to arise in the lives of Christians, too. It boils down to a choice to fulfill our religious commitments even when it costs us something in the eyes of the world instead of demanding that the world let us have both.