Secure on God’s Team

UFC 152: Vitor Belfort Open Workout

 

“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…” 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

Many of us struggle with the constant pressure to be perfect within athletics. We get caught up seeking unreliable affirmation through our performance, so when things don’t go our way we feel discouraged. Tryouts are a great example. We work day in and day out to prove we are worthy of a spot. Summers, we run sprints in the heat. Nights, we lift in the weight room. It feels like every second is spent honing our skills.

But, the challenges don’t just stop after making the team. That’s just the beginning. Next, we must constantly work to improve in order to get a chance at starting. The demands are never ending.

Fortunately for those of us who are Christ followers, we don’t have to constantly worry about being good enough. On God’s team the tryouts have already been conducted, and only one person was worthy of eternal life in Heaven: Jesus Christ. Jesus performed flawlessly with a life of service and love. He then chose to give up HIS roster spot, so that we could be part of the team, too.

So even though the challenges within our sport aren’t ending soon, we can be encouraged in the fact that, despite our performance, God loves us continually—and our spot on His team is secure.

By Britton Lynn

Britton Lynn is a contributor to Sports Spectrum magazine. This devotional is taken from our most recent Training Table. Log in here to access our most recent Training Table. Subscribe here to receive 12 issues a year and a daily sports-related devotional.

Barrett Jones – NCAA Closeup

Tonight, Alabama center Barrett Jones and the Crimson Tide will take on Notre Dame for the BCS title. But Jones is more than just a football player concerned about winning games, he’s concerned about others and winning their hearts to Christ. Our story on Jones originally appeared in the Summer 2011 issue…

A National Championship and All-American honors have not sidetracked Alabama’s Barrett Jones from showing compassion to the people of Haiti.

Alabama sophomore guard Barrett Jones has been a key element on the offensive line during his two years starting for the Crimson Tide. His resume includes Freshman All-American, All-SEC honors twice, third-team All-American, CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-American, SEC Academic Honor Roll, and a national championship.

“We think our problems are big,” Jones says. “Over there they have people who don’t know if they will have a meal. We are so blessed to be in this country. Seeing Haiti really just does change your perspective on life.”

Spending time in Haiti reminds Jones that football is just a game.

“It puts things in perspective as far as how much focus we put on football,” Jones says. “While it is important for us to win games, it’s not the most important thing. Sometimes we lose sight of the big picture and the things that really are important in life, like giving back to other people.”

Although Jones says the decision to visit Haiti for the first time took a great deal of prayer, in the end he felt like God called him to do something special in missions. After Haiti’s crisis his home church in Memphis,  Tenn., Bellevue Baptist Church, organized a trip to help out.

“Haiti was just where God wanted me these past two years,” Jones says. “I’ve developed a love for the people down there. I want to keep going back the rest of my life. You always end up getting blessed more than you bless. You learn a lot about yourself and learn to be grateful.”

This year the trip was especially impactful, because while Jones and his group worked on a Haitian school, they were also able to build a basketball court for the kids and eventually teach them how to play the sport.

“It was neat getting to play,” Jones says. “I love sports so much just getting to share that with these kids who haven’t experienced basketball and to see how much fun they were having playing the sport was awesome.”

Jones’ peers have begun to notice how much he enjoys visiting Haiti and he was able to bring 12 students along with him this year.

Even Alabama head football coach, Nick Saban, recognized Jones’ service as unique to other college students.

“Barrett Jones is one of the greatest people I’ve ever had the opportunity to be around,” Saban says. “To make that sacrifice two years in a row when other student-athletes are worried about going to the beach. He’s willing to go give up himself and help people. That speaks volumes for the compassion that he has for other people.”

Uncommon Challenge