“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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.” — Philippians 4:11-13
If you’re a sports fan, there is no time of the year better than the one we’re going through right now. In a span of four weeks, we have the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, along with the Masters. Throw in opening day for Major League Baseball, and a person couldn’t have better television viewing.
I was thinking the other day about a man who calls a considerable amount of that action for TV, Jim Nantz, calling his 32nd — and last — Final Four this year. Most kids grow up wanting to be LeBron James, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods or Serena Williams. Me? I grew up wanting to be Jim Nantz. I started broadcasting games as a high schooler, then was blessed to be the television play-by-play voice for my college team on local television as a college freshman. It seemed my career was destined for great things, with me having the opportunity to call the biggest of games seemingly right around the corner.
Except it hasn’t happened like that, or anything close to that. My broadcast career has had a few nice moments, but it hasn’t turned out for me like I wanted it to. I haven’t been the next “Jim Nantz” — I’ve merely been just “me.” When I’ve had opportunities, whether to call games on ESPN or have my big chance to break through with a radio or television network, something has happened to where I’ve been just on the outside, not quite able to get there.
My career hasn’t quite gone the way I wanted it to, and I’ve felt some disappointment in myself. That mode of thinking led me to meditate on Philippians 4:13, where the apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). And I sat pondering, “If I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, why hasn’t me being the next ‘Jim Nantz’ happened like I wanted it to?”
A lot of times we get so caught up in the ego side of this verse — how I’m capable of anything — that we forget to ponder the real message in it: We’re capable of doing anything when it’s in God’s will for us to do those things. None of us will ever do anything outside of the permissive will of God. We won’t have any professional accomplishment, personal accomplishment, or situation that isn’t expressly permitted by God. We can do all things through Jesus Christ — we can heal people, we can give to people, we can minister to people, we can even broadcast sports — but none of it will happen outside of the will of God.
Pondering why we haven’t done something leads to self-doubt and self-pity. Understanding that God is uniquely working in us to build something special leads us to a strengthening mix of humility and divine purpose. My path is the path that God has called me to, just as yours is the same, and just as Jim Nantz’s was his. And each day, we are accomplishing things in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that no one before us and no one after us will do, because we are doing “all things” through Christ who strengthens us, for the calling we’ve been given.
Still, we must face the reality sometimes, which can be hard. I must face the reality that I will likely never broadcast an NFL game. I doubt that I will welcome people to a PGA Tour golf tournament on network television. I also probably won’t open people to a Final Four venue.
Do I want those things to happen? Yes. Could they still happen? Sure. Do I ever get disappointed they haven’t happened? Of course. Do I live in peace regardless, knowing that God is strengthening me to do all the things He’s called for me to do in His name? Absolutely.
— Jon Oglesby
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