Devotional

A Higher Goal

Ready “For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls…’” - 1 Peter 1:24
Set Many high school graduates are beginning to experience the end of their sports in one way or another. Their seasons are coming to an end, and, for some, life will never be the same. In my case, as a thrower in track and field, I don’t have much opportunity to throw after high school. You don’t just randomly start throwing a shot put in your backyard or a discus at your local park. For the most part, you’re done with that part of your life. And, for me, it has been a huge part of my life. Throwing has become a passion, and now it feels a little like I’m losing a part of myself. For the past four years I’ve had one final goal in mind: State. During sectionals I had an opportunity to qualify, but I didn’t make it. At that meet, as I looked around, I realized that all of my hopes and final dreams had just fallen apart. I had a momentary breakdown and started to doubt whether or not I was even fit to be called an athlete. I thought my legacy would be defined by my final meet. I had been voted as a captain, and I couldn’t even get to State! I felt like I had lost my leadership role when I lost the chance to compete. Later, I was then asked to join the team going to the state meet, which was made up mainly of seniors, except me. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t be a part of the team—to compete with them and for them. But that weekend I experienced something so much more important: the true meaning of Christ as a servant. It was hard to not be bitter and angry that I couldn’t compete, but Christ spoke to me in a way, telling me that I was there to serve them. That weekend I was able to roll down all of the girls’ legs to prep them for their races. I helped cook the dinners for my team. And the greatest part of all was that I was able to lead two FCA Huddles for my fellow teammates! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be able to help spiritually prep my teammates. I was able to give them a different perspective on competition that no coach would tell them—that when you compete for the glory of Christ, He will never be disappointed with the outcome. Seeing the look on their faces when I explained that the pressure was off was amazing. They came alive as they heard God’s truth regarding their worth and that it did not come from their accomplishments, but from Christ’s love. That moment I realized that God had a specific role for me that weekend even if I had not understood it at first. It might not have been a part of my plan to get to State, but, because of that FCA Huddle, three girls decided to join FCA next year! I was able to be a servant for them and for Him! That weekend, I realized that God was trying to teach me something. I might not have been meant to be an athlete that weekend, but I was certainly a servant. I realized that we all fail at times, which is why we have to play for something more than a win, a trip to State, or a personal record. When we play to glorify Christ, it’s not about how far we get, but about giving our all for Him no matter what our role. Through that, we learn to serve our teammates. Even though I never got to my final goal—a goal I had worked toward for the past 48 months—I realized that you can’t put all your work, effort, sweat and tears into such a temporary goal. It’s healthy to have a goal like State, but if your athletic identity is found in that, you’re going to be disappointed. Even if you achieve it, it won’t last. And if you don’t, you’ll be crushed. Instead, I realized that if you put your effort into serving Christ and serving others in your sport, you will never be disappointed with the outcome.
Go 1. Have you ever fallen short of an athletic goal you’d been training for? What was it like to know that the chance was gone? 2. Have you ever based your identity on your athletic accomplishments? Where is your identity based right now? 3. What can you do to take the mindset off of yourself and put it on serving Christ and others through your sport?
Workout Matthew 23:11 Mark 9:35 1 Peter 4:10
Bible Reference: 
1 Peter 4
Sport