"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."
-Colossians 3:23-24 (NASB)
Why do we play sports? What is our priority? Whom are we playing for? These are questions we each struggle with as players and as coaches. If we search our souls, I believe that each of us will find that we all desire to win and that we each play for some personal reason beyond "the team," whether it be for personal glory, personal gratification, etc.
But when we gather together to play as a team, those who thrive have the ability to do two things: 1) put aside their personal goals and priorities, and 2) align themselves with team priorities. Great team victories have been achieved by groups of individuals who determined their priorities and submitted to their team goals.
Years ago, I lost my stat-girl in a horrific, mid-season car accident. My volleyball team and the football team chose to dedicate the remainder of their seasons to her. The football team, a fledgling first-year, 8-man program, had not won a game yet. The next two games they played were their best of the season, even though the team did not win. Our volleyball team, which was 2-2 at that point, went on a 15-match winning streak, which carried the team into sectional playoffs. The teams were unified for one purpose: to honor their fallen.
What would happen if we each took the above verse for what it is. Paul said to the Colossians, "Whatever you do." He did not say, "If you work in a certain field, do it unto the Lord." He said, "Whatever!" This is our license to take our sport and dedicate ourselves to excellence. If Christ is our priority, if He is truly at the center of our lives, then play FOR HIM! Regardless of the score. Regardless of whether your team is having a tremendous season or is in the pit of a losing season, play for Christ and Christ alone! I am not saying to set aside all of your dreams and goals. I am saying align your dreams and goals so that your efforts will be pleasing unto Him; because ultimately, He is the one who will reward you.
One statement from my player handbook reads: "If you receive All-Conference, All-Region or All-American status, we will celebrate. . .but demonstrate the same level of personal excellence on and off the court. . .then we feel we are truly blessed--and you will too, because your efforts will be pleasing unto the Lord."
If we each are doing our 'whatever' with determination, dedication and discipline, we will do well. If we are playing with an attitude that says, "My utmost for His highest," I believe God is pleased. And just like a proud, loving father beams in the stands when you leave your all on the floor, I believe God beams down upon you. But let's take it farther. Let's make sure that every element of our lives is lived with that same passion we bring to our sport. Live each minute with the "great finish line" in sight, and we each will hear those words every child longs to hear from their father, "Well done."
1. If you were to sit down and list your priorities in life right now, what would be the top five?
2. If you look at those top five, how much time do you spend on each priority during an average week?
3. Is Christ at the top of your list? If not, what can you change to make sure He is preeminent in your life?