In week two of the 2023 winter Doing Sports God’s Way study, we read through and discussed the first lesson from the DSGW Study Coaches Edition titled, “The Call.” Ephesians 4:1 says, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
How does it feel to be chosen? To get picked? To be called? It depends on the context but in the world of sports, it feels great to be picked. Picture this scenario: a group of players begin to divide up teams and they start by choosing two captains. The captains each take turns picking their team from the group of players. Your name gets called…how does it feel? Let’s take it the other direction, your name doesn’t get called…what’s running through your head now? We’ve all, or at least most of us, have been there. It’s a horrible feeling to not be called, to feel unwanted.
Question: Do you feel called to coach?
Here’s the truth that we find in scripture: the God of the universe is pointing at you and he’s saying, “I want you on my team.” How amazing is that!? Understanding the call God has given us begins with an understanding of the Gospel. We are sinners, separated from God, in need of saving. Because of his great love for us, God became a man in Jesus, lived a sinless, perfect life, and died on the cross in our place. In doing so he took the punishment we deserved for our sin on himself and fulfilled the law that we never could. He rose from the dead, overcoming sin and death, and he calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Him.
Repentance means to turn away from our sin and turn towards Christ. To repent means to change your mind, leading to a changed way of life. An example of this is found in Acts 3:19: “Repent, then, and turn to God…”Only when we answer his call by beginning a relationship with Jesus can we start discussing the call he’s given us to serve him in the world of sports. Without his Spirit in us, we cannot do sports God’s way.
Question: Have you accepted the calling God has for your life? Have you asked him for forgiveness of your sins and put your trust in him to save you? If you haven’t, give me a call and let’s talk about it.
For the follower of Jesus, our primary calling is to serve God in every area of our life. We like the phrase Doing Sports God’s Way, but it’s about doing all of life God’s way. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” It is easy for us to separate our faith from other areas of our life, such as work or sports. Consider Jesus in John chapter 4.
4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob’s well was there and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.
When we are tired, our thoughts often turn inward. We can become only concerned with our own needs and taking care of them. If you continue reading the rest of the story, you see that even though Jesus was tired and hungry from his journey, he begins talking with a Samaritan woman, which is something Jewish men didn’t do. He reveals who he is to her and as a result, many Samaritans believe. Jesus has an eternal perspective, as evidenced by verse 34. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” His disciples are focused on finding food while Jesus is focused on doing his Father’s will.
Our secondary callings, such as being a coach, should support our primary calling of being a disciple of Jesus. When our secondary calling replaces our primary calling, we are no longer serving God; we are serving ourselves. Coaching sports can and should be done as a spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).
Question: What is the primary calling in your life?
We finished our discussion by answering this question: “Why should a Christian place an emphasis on athletics?” There are a number of reasons but the one I want to highlight is listed on page 14 in the devotional. “The talents you have been given are from God and are designed for a purpose.” We have a responsibility to use the talents and gifts that God has given us for his glory. Jesus shares the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In the parable, the master gives each of his servants a certain number of talents. The first two put theirs to use and present the master with more than they were originally given. The master says to them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
But the third servant was afraid, hid his talent in the ground and eventually returned it to the master. The master takes the talent away from the third servant and throws him out into the darkness. We all have varying talents, gifts and passions given to us by God regarding sports, and we are called to use them for his glory.
Next week, we will read through week 2 of the DSGW Coaches Edition devotional titled, Ambition.