Playing the Game for God

{Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. -Colossians 3:23-24}

As an athlete, life becomes a frequent test of your abilities to balance your priorities. While a sport consumes a great amount of time in life, it is very easy to get caught up in the game trying to do the best you can for your teammates, coaches, and fans. As an athlete, I have struggled tremendously with giving my best effort for my teammates, coaches, and fan, but not God. If I don’t perform to the best of my abilities, I am easily angered and filled with failure. I see many athletes mention, “Play for God,” as they post that awesome sports picture on their social media or they mention, “Give all Glory to God.” But what exactly does that look like? How do you give all Glory to God when you aren’t experiencing Glory? How do you play for God?

I asked my friend these exact questions, and he replied with, “Read the bible, and you’ll figure it out.” So I searched and searched for the answer and in-depth description I was hoping to come across, but came up short multiple times. I asked many other athletes, “How do you play for God?” and each were baffled by my question. It isn’t something collegiate athletes think about, I noticed. We are trained to perform at our best for each other, our school, our coach, our self, our parents, our community, and that comes with a lot of pressure. We are so caught up in winning National Championships, winning All-American, living up to our national ranking, and performing at our internal expectations we place on ourselves we forget the only One we should be playing for.

I came home from a game one day as mad as can be by my performance, and I took a moment to ask myself why was I really upset. The more and more I think about it, the more I figure out the true meaning of what playing for God means. I was so focused on my discontentment with how I performed instead of focusing on the satisfaction of the effort I always give. I was focused on how other people viewed my performance, and how I viewed my own performance which is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how we view our performance or others because we don’t play for them. We don’t play the game for our parents, for our coaches, for our teammates. They aren’t the reason we started the sport so young and stuck with it through college. We play the game because we love the Glory that comes with it. We love the effort we put into it that rewards us in the long run. We love the accomplishments we reach. We love going through the bad times to overcome them with the good.

In the book of Colossians, a verse reads, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (3:23-24). When I think of this verse specifically towards sports, I like to imagine the Lord with a ball cap on, His favorite baseball shirt on, sitting in a recliner, and looking down watching a good game of softball. To me, that is everything. That is enough to put forth my best effort and be satisfied in it, to appreciate the bad games because the Glory of good games will mean 10x more, to play not for myself, but for Him because He is the one that rewards me. His reward is the greatest.

So to answer the following question, “What does it look like?” To me, it looks like not letting the game get in the way of your relationship with God. Not letting the competition edge get the best of you because you are satisfied with your maximum effort performance. It’s being satisfied and content with your ability because during the off season, you worked the hardest you possibly could. It’s not letting the pressure of your teammates, fans, and coaches judging your performance get to you because you trust He is proud. It’s trusting the bad games eventually lead to the good games. It’s giving the Glory you feel when you have the good games all to Him. Acknowledging you wouldn’t have been able to do it without Him.

So work humbly in everything you do. Work silently and hard for He is the one that notices. Work for Him. Work for His rewards.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s