Philippians 2:16 “ . . . holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”
When it comes to sports in our family, I am on a different wavelength than everyone else. Since I never played team sports when I was young (that was not a thing for girls in the town and the culture I grew up in) I have never been able to understand completely the all out, life consuming commitment to the game. So it has become a joke in our family when the competition gets stiff to repeat my favorite saying, “It’s only a game . . . just like UNO”.
My sport is not like a card game!
I have taken a lot of ribbing for this statement over the years. “Mom, you don’t understand! (eye roll) My sport is not anything like a card game!” But while I have made my comment with tongue in cheek, there is a grain of truth to the saying. And it was played out in living color last week.
Our high school volleyball team traveled to another league school where they engaged in a discouraging match. For various reasons the team has struggled this season, and even with a lot of good effort they were lagging behind this opponent’s group of accomplished girls. The coaches and parents were frustrated as the disheartened players tried to focus and get back on track. Suddenly there was a disruption at the far end of the court.
The other school’s athletic director was watching from the corner when, without warning, he collapsed breaking two teeth and wounding his head. As he lay motionless on the court, nurses and medical personnel rushed from the stands to help. The rest of the players, coaches, and fans sat in suspended silence watching and waiting for any news on his condition. Finally, a local parent gathered both teams into a circle on the court and led the group in prayer for their administrator. Twenty minutes later the ambulance arrived and transported the man to a nearby hospital.
The game resumed and concluded quickly, but there was a new outlook on the results. Tears were not about who won or lost. There was more at stake then being a winner or loser in the game of volleyball. Someone’s life was hanging in the balance.
Hold Tightly to What Really Matters
I firmly believe we must give our best effort to whatever God sets before us, whether that be our job, our homework, or our sport. But we must always keep in mind what is most important. The Apostle Paul understood that his life, glory, and worth did not depend on what kind of grades he received in school, how much money he made in his career, or his stats on a high school volleyball team. He recognized that the purpose of life and his true worth was in Christ alone. Christ was working in him to will and to work for His good pleasure and he counted everything as loss in order to know Christ more fully. Paul determined to hold tightly to the Word of Life. This would assure he would have reason to glory and he wouldn’t run or toil in vain.
Kids, there will be many disappointments in this life. But these don’t determine your worth or your status with God. Give your best effort to all that you set your hand to do in order to bring Him glory. But keep in mind that life is short and everything on this earth will soon pass away. Instead hold on tightly with all out, life-consuming commitment to what really matters – the words of life, knowing Christ, living above reproach, and shining your light for all to see.
Then when you have a discouraging sports season, you won’t take it too hard. Your perspective will be changed and you will finally agree with what I’ve always said, “It’s only a game . . . just like UNO!”
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