Spring 2021 Magazine

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, May 2, 2019

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” — Colossians 3:23-24

What Are You Chasing?

A pioneering Olympic athlete once told a young, new Olympic medalist that winning a medal would change the young man’s life. The older Olympian had a medal to his credit also, which he had competed in multiple Games to finally win. That medal had meant everything to him — it was the proof that he had overcome much tragedy and adversity in his life, and had finally done something meaningful that others would respect him for. And now, he was telling this youngster that a medal would change everything for him, too. 

Months after that conversation, the older medalist would commit suicide. Sometime later, the young man to whom those words had been said found himself in his own battle for meaning. Fighting his own struggles with depression, he actually went, at one point, to the place where his hero had taken his life and contemplated doing the same. But something compelled the young man to rethink his decision — and he called his mom instead and asked for help. 

A couple years later, the young man sat talking to the media, having earned a medal again. He openly talked about his journey, about how living was of far greater meaning to him than simply winning a medal. The medal was only a bonus because he was so grateful to just be embracing a life of purpose.

I recall listening to this press conference and wondering if we’ve sent the wrong message to our athletes, that we only applaud you if you win. We expect you to win, and who you are isn’t as important as what you achieve. Instead of teaching athletes to compete for the love of their sport, maybe we’re teaching them that being No. 1 is all that matters? Perhaps this would explain the statistics that show athletes experience a high susceptibility to depression. Performance has outweighed character. And it’s showing big time. 

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” God wants us to compete and work hard, striving for excellence. But the mere pursuit of excellence, in and of itself, isn’t the goal.

Ask yourself today, “What am I chasing? Am I chasing success simply for the sake of feeling better about myself? Am I chasing success to look cool in the eyes of others? Am I chasing success because I want to please people? Or am I chasing Jesus Christ?” How you answer that question will likely determine what you’ll walk away with when your life comes to an end. Because ultimately, how you choose to use your one life is the only thing you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life.  

If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to jason@sportsspectrum.com.

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