Americans love their sports. I have to admit that when I go outside to fetch the newspaper in the morning, after glancing at the headlines on page 1, I immediately turn to the sports section to read the baseball or football game summaries. Sometimes I wonder why I, like so many people, am so fascinated with professional sports. After all,
I am not getting any of the money!
One of the reasons I think that I as a pastor enjoy sports is that there are so many parallels between athletics and the life of faith. In order to win a championship, athletes must work hard; follow strict training disciplines; and, when part of a team, work together. Most importantly, the members of a winning sports team believe in what they are doing.
The Bible teaches us that the life of faith is similar. Living the faith requires the energy and discipline of an athlete. Effective ministry demands hard work, teamwork, and a belief in what we are doing. The prize that we seek to win is not a trophy or a championship—honors that “moth and rust doth corrupt” (Matthew 6:19, KJV) and which disappear with the passage of time. No, the prize that the Christian seeks is the everlasting gift of eternal life. In our Bible Lesson, Paul wrote about what it meant to win that prize. This message has special meaning for those who, like me, enjoy sports.