Sports – Feb. 2, 2014

Beloved in the Lord,

If you live in North America around this particular time, then you know that everywhere you turn the talk is about sports. Today, it is the Super Bowl. Next week, it is the winter Olympics. I came across this humorous piece the other day. It says that the FIFA World Cup is coming on this summer in Brazil, so let us draw an illustration from this worldwide game.
 
It is said that three soccer players, Landon Donovan, Lionel Messi and David Beckham, were invited to heaven to watch the final World Cup with God. God decides who will sit next to Him by asking them the same question.
 
God’s first question went to Donovan: “You play soccer. What do you believe makes a good player?”  Donovan says, “I believe in hard work and staying true to family, team mate and friends.” God chuckles and offers him seat to His left.
 
God then turned to Messi, asking, “What about you, what do you believe?”  Messi says, “I believe in loyalty, discipline, courage and honour are the fundamentals of life for a soccer player.”  God chuckles again by the Argentinean’s response and offers him a seat to His right.
 
The final question went to Beckham: “And you, what do you believe?”  Beckham turns to the Almighty God and uttered, “I believe you’re in my seat, God.”

There may be some humour in this but interestingly, the Bible does have a say in sports. In fact, the Holy Bible does have several verses that clearly relate to sports and uses athletic terminology or sporting images for illustration and caution.  These verses could refer to running, wrestling or even boxing; sorry, I haven’t yet come across American football or ice-skating in the Bible but I will keep searching.

Now, when we think of these sports illustrations that the Bible uses, the Olympics and Olympic related-images do come to mind.  Interestingly, historians date the first known Olympic Games as far back 776 BC.  When you look at this date carefully, it tells you that at the very least, New Testament times and the New Testament writers would, for sure, not have been strangers to the sporting events that are described in the New Testament. 

Look at what the Bible says about competition:

1. Preparation

  • 1 Peter 1:13-16, 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy
  • Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


2. Competition

  • 1 Timothy 6:11-12, 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.


3. Winning

  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27, 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
  • 2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.


4. Losing

  • 2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 2 Timothy 2:5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules, (NIV).


5. Perseverance

  • Philippians 3:12-14, 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
  • Hebrews 12:1-2 1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;


6. Overall – Sportsmanship

  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

As you can tell, these sports-related scripture verses tell us how to be good athletes. They show us the Christian traits that sportsmen and women ought to instill in them.

Proposed prayer: Heavenly Father, as I go through this week, please help me find motivation in these scriptures. I pray that I get a proper sense about preparation, competition, training, winning, losing, whether on the job, at home, school, or in the marketplace. Thank You for hearing my prayers, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

A blessed work-week to you all.

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