“An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher…” - 1 Timothy 3:2
As I watched the World Cup in 2014, I loved seeing the tremendous amount of focus, endurance, commitment and teamwork on display. But I was also appalled by the bad attitudes, poor sportsmanship and sometimes violent actions of the athletes. Some of them had no regard for what kind of message they were communicating with their actions.
When it comes to legacies, we as athletes can’t pick and choose what we want to be known and remembered for. Since we compete out in the open for everyone to see, our actions will determine our legacy on their own—for better or worse. While some athletes have bigger spotlight than others, we all have one to some degree and need to be concerned about living above reproach.
The book of Daniel shows us what it actually means to live above reproach (the expression of disapproval or disappointment). Daniel was highly favored in the eyes of the king, which made a lot of people jealous. When his enemies decided to try to destroy him, they looked for ways to take him down but couldn’t find anything. In Daniel 6:4 we read, “At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”
Daniel had kept a clean slate, and nothing negative could be brought against him. His life was above reproach. Not only was Daniel able to do this despite having a prominent position in the kingdom—like many athletes today—he also weaved a testimony of devotion to the God who would later deliver him from the lions’ den. Daniel’s faithfulness glorified God and eventually led others to turn to Him.
As Christian athletes and coaches, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to win games and develop exceptional athleticism. But none of that matters without character, integrity and devotion to God. When we’re under stress or faced with trials and temptations, who we are inside is going to surface. We need to be so in tune with God that we glorify Him in our actions and words and leave a godly legacy—one that shows we are above reproach.
- What comes out when you are stressed or in a difficult situation on the field? In life?
- If others tried to find ways to discredit you like Daniel’s enemies did to him, what would they find?
- If you are going to live above reproach, what do you need to stop doing? What do you need to start doing?