Is Sports Your Purpose?

1 Corinthians 10: 31“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Not long after I was born I’m sure my parents scratched their heads wondering where I came from.  They were both active, enjoying hiking and my dad even climbed mountains, but competitive sports didn’t quite resonate with them.  As long as I can remember, if there was a ball nearby I would have chosen that over an ice cream cone any day.  A long walk with the family was only bearable with a stick and stones to bat across the forest.  I spent countless hours kicking my soccer ball against imaginary opponents or scoring buzzer-beaters on my Nerf basketball hoop.  I have always, and will always love sport (almost any kind).

If you’re reading this devotional, chances are you can relate.  We have been strangely and uniquely made to love sports.  My parents were supportive, but not everyone I encountered in Christian circles could relate to this love. It made me ponder what God thinks about this topic.  If you read your Bible you will see no shortage of sports analogies.  In Isaiah 40:31 we are encouraged, that as we hope in the Lord we “will run and not grow weary”.  The apostle Paul, in particular, loved sports analogies.   In 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27, when referring to perseverance, he refers to runners and boxers.  “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” (vs. 26).  Paul also uses athletic rewards as an analogy when he says: Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.” (1 Timothy 2:5).  Surprisingly to some, the Bible even refers to the general concept of working out.  Hebrews 12: 11-13 speaks of the discipline of sports training to encourage spiritual discipline.  “Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” (vs.12). 

I believe God has given us unique desires and talents.  Some have a love and talent for drawing, acting or singing.  Some can work expertly with their hands and others with their minds.  Some have been gifted athletically, and if you are one of those people you should never feel guilty for the desire God placed on your heart.  The key, however, is to put that desire into proper perspective.  Former NFL quarterback, and current minor league baseball hopeful, Tim Tebow, was recently asked about how he handles the pressure of sports (especially since most expect him to fail).  I love his response.  In his charity work he sees people struggling with life-threatening sickness and he rhetorically asks how that even compare to the pressure of going 0-12 at the plate?  He goes on to say that while he loves sports, it’s not his ultimate purpose.  “At the end of the day I know that is not why I am here.  That’s not my biggest purpose, it’s not my biggest calling.”  Tebow recognizes what the Apostle Paul knew thousands of years ago: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8).  Do you have this same perspective in your life?  If you see yourself as a soccer player, baseball player, basketball player, football player, or track athlete, then you don’t see what God sees.  That is not what you are.  That may be what God wants to use to achieve your ultimate purpose here on earth, but it is not who you are.  Ask God to show you your purpose.

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