Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Tuesday, July 17, 2018

On paper there was very little difference between John Isner of the U.S. and Kevin Anderson of South Africa, who played in the Wimbledon men’s quarterfinals this year.

Ranking: Anderson 8th, Isner 10th

Age: Anderson 32, Isner 33

Height: Anderson 6-foot-9, Iner 6-foot-10. Both are among the 10 tallest men in professional tennis.

Background: Anderson played college tennis for the University of Illinois and Isner for the University of Georgia. In 2007, Isner beat Anderson in the championship dual.

Game: Both rely heavily on their big serves.

Their quarterfinal match lasted 6 hours and 36 minutes, which is the longest semifinal match in Wimbledon history.

After his victory, Anderson said in his interview: “I don’t really know what to say right now. Just playing like that in those sort of conditions, just really tough on both of us. At the end, you feel like this is a draw between the two of us, but somebody has to win. John’s such a great guy. I really feel for him because being on the opposite side, I don’t know how you can take that playing for so long and coming out short. I apologize if I’m not more excited right now. It’s just so many mixed emotions. Getting through something like that is quite difficult.”

His humility was surprising and refreshing.

Moses, arguably the biggest leader of the Israelites in Biblical times, was described as the humblest man on the earth (Numbers 12:3). And then Jesus came as the ultimate example of humility.

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” — Philippians 2: 5-8

When we are successful and praised it is a temptation to become proud and to think too highly of ourselves. Let’s remember these examples and remain humble. Humility is not a sign of weakness, but rather of strength. It expresses itself in words and deeds of caring for others, being willing to listen to advice, and being able to sacrificially serve.

— Stephan van der Merwe

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