Pain and Determination
Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. — Hebrews 12:2
Dean Karnazes, the ultra marathon runner, lost his sister in a freak accident. Perhaps the pain of this loss gave him great determination. He was a cross-country runner in high school, but afterward he set aside the sport until the age of thirty. His first run, after resuming, left him bruised and beaten, but he had found his sport. Now he does seventy-five-mile training runs once a month and, just for kicks, he runs at night. Karnazes runs in heat in the Desert Valley; he runs in snow on the highest peak in California.
The Apostle Paul reminded his Corinthian friends that athletes run in such a way as to win the prize (1 Co 9:24), but he used this example to illustrate the most
important race we’re called to run, and that is living as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Living the Christian life is often a battle. We face resistance from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and if we aren’t to fall under the strain, we must exercise our spiritual muscles the same way we exercise our bodies.
Now, coaches, I am not saying that we should drive our players into submission through grueling six-hour workouts, but we can use the examples of modern-day athletes who endure hardship and come out victorious on the other side. We can be victorious, too, if we teach our players about Christ’s love for them and get them on the path of becoming productive citizens who love their God and love their neighbor.
1. Do you teach your athletes about the love of God?
2. Is there written in your practice schedule times for teaching about Jesus?
3. What is your team known for? Integrity? Honor? Cheating? Disrespect?
Extra Reading: Isaiah 53:3–6; Colossians 3:1–4; Hebrews 10:36; 12:1–11
Lord Jesus, help us be coaches who glorify God. Help us serve You as we teach others about life and about You. You are the master planner and strategist in our lives, and we want to please You in our athletic endeavors. Amen.