Summer 2024

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Wednesday, February 26

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” — 1 John 3:16

The Moment of Truth

Athletes and coaches need steely nerves to make split-second decisions in the bottom of the last inning, in the last 20 seconds of a match, or in the last two minutes of a game. When everyone is watching and the team is depending on him or her for victory, participants need to perform at the critical time.

In the moment of truth, skilled men and women rise to the occasion. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose in a valiant effort to the very end. We do our best for our team and fans, and don’t worry about rest and recovery until everything is done.

In life, we find ourselves in unexpected situations where we need to make quick decisions that affect many people. In the Bible, when Esther was a little girl, she wasn’t expecting to be a queen. Her people were dominated by the Persians, so she expected to live a quiet life. However, surprising events brought her to the throne. After the Persian King Ahasuerus decided to put away his wife, Vashti, for no good reason, he decided to have a beauty contest to decide who would become the new queen. Esther won and married the king. It was not her choice, but she tried to make the best of the situation.

When her Uncle Mordecai fell out of favor with the king’s right-hand man, Haman, Esther’s words and actions took on new meaning. Even though Mordecai respected the laws of the land, he refused to worship Haman as if he was a god. “All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor” (Esther 3:2).

The invisible God is the only one who should be worshipped. Nevertheless, Haman wanted Mordecai, as well as all the other Jews, dead because of his refusal to bow. Then Mordecai told Esther she was the only one who could rescue the Jewish people from certain death. She was afraid but decided to risk her life for her people. So Esther told Mordecai to gather everyone for prayer for three days as she prepared to speak to the king. She said, “And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

Many people were saved through her courageous action. It was a preview of Jesus willingly laying down His life for everyone. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Thank God for His daring rescue of sinners. When Jesus went to the cross, He gained nothing for Himself but we benefit now and for eternity. 

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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