By Mark Snyder
“…Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” - John 4:35
A couple summers ago I was fortunate to travel to Manchester, England, as a coach for a lacrosse tour. The tour was a wonderful success and both the players and coaches made some awesome lifelong connections. For me, however, it went much deeper. Although I was in Manchester as a lacrosse coach, my primary sport has always been soccer. On this trip, our home base was only minutes away from the hallowed grounds at Old Trafford—the home field of Manchester United. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to tour the stadium. I was elated when I was allowed to visit the team locker room and even more overjoyed when I had my picture taken seated in Sir Alex Ferguson’s game seat. But what really caught my attention was my visit to the team museum. Of course it was filled with trophies, jerseys and famous player biographies, but one of the most prominent displays was dedicated to the darkest period of the clubs history—known to all soccer fans as the “Munich Air Disaster.” On February 6, 1958, while attempting to return home following an away European Cup match, the team plane crashed during takeoff at Munich-Rien Airport. In addition to the team and staff, the airplane was carrying a number of supporters and journalists. Ultimately 23 of the 44 persons onboard lost their lives as a result of the crash. Nearly half of the team members (8 of 17) were among those who perished in the crash. Amid all of the memorabilia memorializing the disaster, there was one particular team photo that caught my eye. It was the last posed team picture taken prior to the disaster. For memorial purposes, the players and coaches who died in the crash were highlighted. Interestingly, all 11 of the players and staff who were lost were grouped together on the right side of the photograph. As Christians, we are blessed to know that, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have been given the gift of eternal life. One of our responsibilities is to share this incredible free gift with those around us. As athletes, we typically number our teammates as our closest friends. Even though our actions set a good example and display a Christ-like attitude, we still need to take the time to share Christ’s great news with them. Take a closer look at your most recent team picture. If your team suddenly faced disaster and you had to highlight your team photo in accordance with whether those sitting or standing around you had heard Christ’s great news, would you know whom to highlight? While the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20) urges us to spread the great news, Christ has already assured us that there are fields with people ready for the harvest.
1. What holds you back from sharing Christ’s great news with your teammates? 2. You might make incredible sacrifices to help your teammates improve on the field, but what about off the field?
Matthew 28:18-20 Mark 16:15-16 John 17:3 Acts 1:8
“Lord God, please give me the courage to be Your ultimate teammate. Help and guide me to be more purposeful in my daily interactions so that I may share Your great news with everyone in my sphere of influence.”