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Devotion of the Week

Devotion of the Week

Tony Dungy, in The Jersey Effect, talks about the struggle for athletes once they finish their career. It’s a struggle because, once sports are taken away, they wonder what their purpose in life is. When sports are taken away, they lose meaning in life. If you’re an athlete, is this true for you? If you’re not an athlete, what is the one thing in this world that you feel gives you meaning and purpose? How would you feel if it was taken away?

Winter Olympics great Eric Heiden was very practical in his view of gold medals. In essence, they’re nice to look at, but not very useful. “I’d rather get a nice warmup suit. That’s something I can use. Gold medals just sit there. When I get old, maybe I could sell them if I need the money,” said Heiden, winner of five gold medals at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. He understood the triviality of the medals, which are much like the trivial nature of wealth or stockpiling things because we just have to have them. When it came down to it, Heiden needed equipment to train more than he needed the medals. And when it comes down to worldly things compared to spiritual things, we should see the disparity between the two and store up treasures in heaven. As Matthew 6 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...”

Baseball is a simple game. Throw strikes. See the ball and hit it. There are three outs, per team, per inning and nine innings in a game. Teams that play well together are usually successful. Team unity is enhanced in the clubhouse by energetic leaders like Orlando “Cha-Cha” Cepeda, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series in 1967 and 1968. It can also be augmented by quiet leaders like Carlos Beltran, who leads by consistent performance and is there to be an example and mentor to younger players...

Who won the Super Bowl last year? How about two years ago? Three? Four? Five? Six? Seven? If you could name each Super Bowl champion from the last seven years, I would be impressed. But my guess is that recalling the Super Bowl winner from two or three years ago was a struggle. Most people, outside of Indianapolis Colts fans, have forgotten that my teammates and I won a Super Bowl in 2006. That was six years ago...

Tony Romo has undergone a spiritual transformation the last few years (which we talk about on pages 40-43 of this issue). During that time, he has been mentored by godly men, gotten married, become a father and has seen what's most important in life. "One thing as I grow into a husband is being a spiritual leader of my family, my wife and the people I surround myself with," Romo told Sports Spectrum. "I heard John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach for all those years, once said success is peace…"

Fresno State quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Derek Carr said his faith in Christ was the No. 1 thing in his life. “You can ask anyone who knows me, that’s the first thing they should tell you, and if they don’t, then I’m not doing the right thing,” he said. “Derek Carr is not the Fresno State quarterback. First of all, he’s a Christian and then he’s the Fresno State quarterback; that is what’s the most important thing to me, to be noticed as a Christian first and a quarterback second...”

The 2012 St. Louis Cardinals baseball team exhibited unusual power. Five players: Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and David Freese each hit 20 or more home runs. This had never happened in franchise history. They made it to the postseason, winning the wild card playoff and division series. They were up 3 games to 1 in the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants until San Francisco’s excellent pitching took over...

Being able to play in the NBA is the biggest privilege anyone could ever ask for, but for me it is the greatest opportunity I have been given to spread the Gospel to people. There are many people who look up to me, figuratively and physically, and I know I can have an impact on them. My goal every day is to handle myself in a Gospel-centered manner and be able to show my faith to people through my actions. When I get the opportunity, there is no greater joy than to be able to share the Gospel with someone. The forgiveness that I have been able to receive through Christ is the greatest gift I have ever received in my life, and I love being able to help others be able to receive that gift, or just simply give them encouragement in their faith. There are challenges along the way, but I wouldn’t give up that gift for any challenge, difficulty or anything the world can offer...

The success of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates, who broke a 20-year losing streak and made the playoffs, began because Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle wanted to make a difference by choosing something other than what people told him to do. Hurdle recounted his decision to Sports Spectrum in the 2013 Spring issue. “Everyone told me that I had to go to New York,” recalls Hurdle, who says that people advised him to take that job because of his connection with the Mets as a player and minor league manager...

I remember going to my first Indiana Pacers game at Market Square Arena with my father in first grade. The Pacers were playing the Hawks, and we sat up in the rafters, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t even remember if the Pacers won; in fact, I think they lost. But the experience is what I remember. I had bugged my dad for so long to go to a game, and just being there, watching Reggie Miller, wearing my No. 31 Miller jersey and pinstripe shorts, and sitting next to my dad was enough. The experience was enough...

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