Summer 2024

Devotion of the Week -- Before Anything

Last year, the Harvard Crimson were the Ivy League Champions and made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1946. This year, they were projected to get back to the Big Dance, returning three seniors to their starting lineup. But head coach Tommy Amaker has some serious challenges to overcome in order to complete that goal for the Crimson.

Last week, Harvard had their co-captains Kyle Casey (F) and Brandyn Curry (G) leave the team due to alleged academic violations. Casey and Curry were allegedly part of a group of 125 students at Harvard who shared or plagiarized answers on a take-home test during an open-book final exam. To avoid potential punishments, the two seniors chose to withdraw from the school.

Every student in college may make a mistake or two at some point or another, but the problem I have is seeing student-athletes forget that they are students first. You see cases like this at Connecticut where the school’s academic progress report was so low they were banned from postseason play this year.

It got me thinking this week about what it means to be a Christian and living for Christ. In our lives, when people ask us what we do for a living, we may say we are a writer, accountant, fireman, etc. But, before anything, we should be followers of Jesus Christ, and our actions should show that. Similarly, student-athletes should be students before anything, and their actions should show that.

In the epistle to the Galatians, the apostle Paul talks about walking in the spirit and how it cannot conflict with the desire of the flesh. Keeping in line with the Spirit shows that Christ comes before everything else in our lives. This is what Paul describes as the fruits of the spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-26)

Today, I exhort you to crucify the desires of the flesh and keep our minds focused on being a follower of Christ first, your occupation second.