“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” – (Philippians 4:12-14 NIV)
“You play to win the game!”, Coach Herm Edwards said after the New York Jets lost to the Cleveland Browns to fall to 2-5 on the season. Coach Edwards accomplished a lot in his career as a player, as a coach, and as an analyst/broadcaster. However, that quote will be how many sports fans remember him.
He was not wrong, though. Even for kids, the games are competitive and we teach them to play to win. We tell them they must work hard, execute, and be their best in order to give their team a chance to find victory.
We may even teach them how to win with humility. We talk about shaking hands, celebrating appropriately, and how they shouldn’t gloat when they go to school the next day. But one thing that sports in general teach kids that we really can’t is how to lose.
We can talk as much as we want about keeping your head up, using defeat as motivation, and being composed after losing a game, but that is hard to accept unless you have gone through it a few times. Allowing kids to lose and showing them how to handle it can be so effective in their development on and off of the playing field. While it can be difficult, they must be content to lose while still striving to win.
Paul taught a similar lesson in his letter to the Philippians. He shared how tough he had found it to be to follow Jesus completely. He talked about how blessed he had been by the believers that supported him. Basically, he told them that they would see both good times and bad in their journey with Christ.
As Christians, we are both called to suffer and promised a joy beyond words. That can be difficult to balance. But Paul teaches us that, through Christ, we can find contentment in any situation. Whether we are on the biggest winning streak of our lives or we feel like the Cleveland Browns, God is with us. And if we can keep that in perspective, we will have the peace needed to endure and continue seeking His purpose for our lives.
– Jamie Boggs, Sports Spectrum Reader
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