Summer 2024

Gospel-Centered Teammates Fight Against Entitlement

The following is an excerpt taken from the book “THE ASSIST: A Gospel-Centered Guide To Glorifying God Through Sports” by Brian Smith.

“As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.” 1 Samuel 18:1-2

This verse comes on the heels of David killing Goliath. By this point in the story, David is pegged as the next king of Israel. None of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, would succeed their father on the throne. The young shepherd who had killed lions and bears – and now Goliath – had the nation’s attention. He had just moved into the starting lineup and taken Jonathan’s himself. He committed to being one in spirit with David. How would you respond?

The disease of entitlement runs rampant in the world of sports. I deserve this spot. I worked hard for my position. I am next in line when he or she graduates. I am better than they are. What they did was not that impressive.

It’s so easy to become bitter at those who steal your spotlight or playing time. Great teammates seek to put others above themselves, especially in moments when it is most difficult to do so.

Brian Smith is the author of the book “The Assist: A Gospel-Centered Guide to Glorifying God Through Sports.” and is available March 15th on Amazon. You can order your copy here. He is on staff with Athletes in Action at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Along with discipling Badger athletes, he is also the Director of Social Media for Athletes in Action and writes regularly for You can find him on twitter @BrianSmithAIA


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