Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Daily Devotional: Thursday, May 27 - Part of His Team

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” — Proverbs 16:3

Society is fixated on the drama of the annual NFL draft event. For the players, the drama comes from the questions they hold: Will the team I’m being drafted to ultimately be successful? Will the coach help guide me to get better, and do they know what they’re talking about? Will they help lead me in a path to success? These questions, like many others, are unknowns that secular culture can never quite answer, no matter how gifted we are at our profession.

Thanks to the grace of God and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary, believers are drafted into the most powerful “team” in the history of creation. Their Coach and Team Captain will show up to the most important game in human history, described in Revelation 19:16, with a uniform that will say “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

The thought of being coached by the Son of Man can lead to a variety of emotions in believers: reverence, elation, humility, etc. All of them are apt when considering the sheer joy of living as part of God’s Kingdom. But what emotion should we consider when preparing ourselves to serve as part of Jesus’ team as God prepares the earth for His return? The key word isn’t dissimilar to the word many great athletes use as they describe what elevates their performance on the fields of play: focus.

For Christ-followers, playing on God’s team starts with prayer and quiet time with the Lord, to understand His individual calling for us to live according to His Word. Proverbs 16:3 says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” In prayer, we commit ourselves to the goals of the Kingdom through an intimate relationship with Jesus, who described Himself as “the way and the truth and the life” in John 14:6. For context, think of this like attending a film session or listening as a coach gives notes on player development — how will you ever improve if you don’t spend time taking instruction and learning methods to improve?

Just as coaches teach players to spend time physically and mentally conditioning themselves for success, those on God’s team should focus themselves on doing the little things when no one is watching. That establishes the presence of Jesus in the hearts of those who are waiting to know of Him. Whether it’s through acts of physical service, kind words, giving financially, or even a friendly smile, there are little things Christians can do each day to change the hearts of lost people around them. Bottom line: If it’s rooted in Jesus, it can make an eternal difference for someone, no matter how small we think it is at the time — similar to how a tiring weight-lifting session on a nondescript summer day can help an NFL player be able to withstand the grind of a long season.

Finally, believers must focus on the end prize, like NFL players focus on being successful no matter where they are selected to play. The Bible spells out what believers should collectively keep their eyes upon many times, saying in Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Like a great athlete utilizes a coach to mold them into what they can become, Jesus works in His followers to mold us into greater beings than we could even imagine. Whether we’re drafted in the first round or the last round, when we’re part of His team, there is no telling what we will accomplish and realize in His will and His name.

— Jon Oglesby

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