Topic: Priorities & Hard Work
Author: Kip Burmeister (Darby H.S.)
I am a huuuuuuge basketball fan! I like most sports, but hoops has a special place in my heart. I love basketball because it’s a sport that allows you to play with teammates but at the same time develop yourself as an individual player. I played Forward for Hilliard Darby for four years, and there was nothing as exciting as running out onto the court to represent my school. I craved the intensity that came with the fourth quarter of a close game, and the celebration in the locker room after a win. I have played organized basketball for ten years….wow that sounds crazy as I write it. Naturally, doing something for that long makes it a substantial part of a person’s life. I’ve found that over the years basketball and faith have been intertwined in my life more often than not. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on these two huge parts of my life, basketball and faith, as well as how they intersect.
To begin, I think it’s important that we understand how God views sports in general. Personally I believe that sports give us the opportunity to do two things that God wants us to do. First, it gives us the ability to glorify God.
- “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them….” -Genesis 1:27
God says we are extraordinary beings who mirror his own greatness. I think that when human beings use the abilities God has given them to their maximum potential, God sits back and says to himself “Wow that’s amazing, and I made that possible.” When we run as fast as we can, jump as high as we can, and compete as hard as we can, it reveals the beauty of our design, and brings joy to our Creator. However, we also have a choice about who gets the credit for our Lebron sized skillz… so remember to glorify God and not yourself.
Second, sports give us the opportunity to have fun. Ecclesiastes 8:15 says “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad.” Our father in heaven wants us to enjoy life, which is the reason I started playing basketball in the first place because it’s fun to play.
Keep God at the Center:
Sports have impacted my life in a big way, and it’s always been a battle for me to keep basketball from dominating my life. It’s pretty much year round, and during the season it’s at least six days a week. A lot of sports are like this, especially the longer you play.
- “You shall have no other gods before me.” -Exodus 20:3
Basketball and any other sport or activity can absolutely become a god in your life. The important thing to remember is: “Keep God At The Center”. It’s a really easy thing to say, and a really difficult thing to do. I’ll be the first to admit that at certain times over the past 10 years, basketball was at the center of my life. When something else takes control of your life, it throws you off the path God has for you. When you aren’t on that path, sin and all sorts of bad stuff can slowly move into your life, and it’s harder to turn to God for help, since you’ve removed him from the center! Hopefully the younger athletes reading this article can learn from my mistakes.
Do Your Best:
While God should always be at the center of our lives, that doesn’t mean we have to carelessly participate in sports. God didn’t give us the ability to compete athletically in order for us to give 50% effort. Obviously in this case I’m talking about playing sports competitively, not shooting hoops in the driveway. If you play for a competitive school or club team, I believe that it’s your responsibility to be the best athlete you can be. Check out what one of my favorite verses says:
- “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” -Colossians 3:23
This verse was my rallying cry every time I had to wake up for 6:00am practice, had to run that extra sprint, or do anything that was particularly difficult. Because of my hard work and God’s blessings, I had an amazing, positive experience playing basketball, and that’s what I want for all the athletes.
So, to recap: glorify God as you play sports, have fun, keep God at the center of your life, and be the best athlete you can be. It’s certainly a tall task, but remember Jesus said that with God all things are possible!
- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
Put Your Faith into Action:
1.How can you give God the glory on & off the court?
2.How can you keep God at the center of your heart & life as you compete in sports?
3.As an athlete and follower of God, why is it important to do your best?
Text: © 2017 LCC- F.R.O.G. Youth Ministry. Used with author’s permission * Image: © google free use license