Due to Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints began the 2005 NFL season with more on their minds than winning football games. Katrina caused devastation not only in the lives of many Saints fans, players and families, but also to the whole city of New Orleans. In the season opener, kicker John Carney hit a 47-yard field goal with three seconds left to give the saints a 23-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers. “You don’t want to attach too much importance to it, you know, because it’s still just a football game,” Carney said. “But, sure, there was a sense that we were playing for more than ourselves today."
In one sense, John Carney was right in that it was “just a football game,” but for many of those Saints fans it was more than a football game. It meant another opportunity to come together as a community to continue picking up the pieces of their lives and to heal their brokenness. It was obvious that the Saints players wanted to play their hearts out to help bring some encouragement to their fans.
If you’re like me, you may often find yourself going through life focused solely on meeting your needs and doing what is best for you. However, this is not an appropriate attitude for a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul addressed self-centeredness in the church at Philippi and challenged them to humbly consider the needs of others before their own (Philippians 2:3-4).
I encourage you to live and compete today not for your own personal glory, but for the glory of God and for the encouragement, support, and strengthening of those around you.
1. When has someone put your needs above his or her own?
2. Why does God call us to put others first?
3. As a competitor, how can you put the needs of others before your own?
Lord, help me be a servant who puts others’ needs ahead of my own. I am grateful for all You have done for me and how You protect me. Give me boldness so that others can see Your love through my actions. Amen.