A Lesson from Jillian
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”
-Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
I don’t usually watch the show “The Biggest Loser,” but when I get a chance to see it, I always love it. There’s always something to learn about our human nature through that show, and I usually come away from it inspired in some way.
Last night, I caught part of the show and was struck by a particular comment from trainer Jillian Michaels. One of the participants had been giving her particular trouble through his poor attitude, and she commented on how it was affecting not only him, but also his entire team. I might botch the quote, but Michaels said something like, “The problem with teams is that the actions of individuals don’t just affect individuals, they affect the other people on their teams.”
I totally agree with good ol’ Jillian on this, but I think there’s an opportunity for us to realize through it, as well.
For all of us who have been a part of a team, we know that one teammate with a bad attitude or poor work ethic can tear down an entire group. That person’s attitude becomes a cancer that spreads throughout the team and causes disunity and a variety of other problems. And their poor work ethic usually shows up on the court or field, too, which we know affects everyone else. Truly, Jillian was right on this point. An individual with a poor attitude is a problem for a team.
However, there is a huge opportunity for us as Christians to embrace the team aspect and use it to model Christ and reveal His love. Because teammates affect each other in such a profound way, we as Christians can seize a huge opportunity to bring out the best in our teammates and allow the Lord to reach them through us. When we have a positive attitude and great work ethic as opposed to the alternative, we can reveal the character of Christ to those who are paying close attention to us and being affected by our actions. When we compete as good teammates and do so in the name of Jesus, our teammates are impacted in a positive way. And this can tremendously counteract the actions of those who would tear down the team through their poor attitude.
Colossians 3:23 says that we are to do everything as unto the Lord. When we bring that Scripture into action through sports by choosing to honor Him in everything we do—both attitude and action—we clearly display Christ to those who are in close proximity to us. It’s a unique and true blessing of sports that we are able to affect the lives of others in such a profound way, and it is an opportunity that God gives us so that we can bring others to Him.
Today, we have a choice. We can see our team dynamics as either problems or as opportunities. As Christians, I pray that we all see them as God-given chances to show the sports world a better way—God’s way—and to bring His love and character to those around us.
1. What does your on-the-court attitude communicate about Christ?
2. Do you tear down the team or build it up?
3. What about off the court? Do you model Christ to your teammates when you interact with them outside of sports?
4. If your attitude has been poor, what can you do to start bringing Christ into your sport and allowing Him to use you as a positive example of His love?
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
1 John 3:18