I love this time of year- warm days, cool nights and beautiful colors. But I also love it because it is football season! I’ve enjoyed football since I was a kid. Dad told me about playing football in the Army, we watched football together on TV (I miss my Dad’s arguments with Howard Cosell through the television screen) and played in the backyard.
I started playing football for real as a scrawny freshman in high school. I was unprepared for the pain and sweat associated with the sport. Somehow I survived and talked myself into playing again as a sophomore. I grew a little and got faster and found some success. I found more success as a junior and senior.
Small though I was, I played football at Wheaton College. I played a lot as a freshman, started every game the next three years and was captain my senior year. (The talent level was lower then!)
I can’t play anymore, of course. (I just pulled my hamstring typing that last sentence.) But
I am the chaplain for the McKendree University football team- I love doing that! And, I can be an effective arm chair coach. I’m an awesome second guesser!
Football has taught me some lessons about faith that have really benefited me. I list some lessons the sport can teach us.
1. Discipline is important. During college, I was very disciplined as an athlete. I worked out, went to school (in Division 3, you still have to go to class), watched film, etc. I finally figured out that I could apply that discipline to my spiritual life. I began daily devotions- reading the bible and praying- during college. That discipline has been so helpful to me. I commend it to you.
2. Great things take hard work. Football is hard. Effort is involved. But that hard work pays off. If you want to do great things for God, He will probably ask you to do some hard things. See Luke 9:23. Do hard things.
3. Life isn’t always easy. Sometime your team wins and sometime your team doesn’t. Learning to deal with adversity in the right way is one of the most important lessons you will learn in your spiritual life.
4. Control what you can. You can’t control what your teammate does, but you can control what you do. You can’t control what your opponent does, but you can control your reactions. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.
5. The only applause that matters in the end is the audience of One. Fans can be fickle. But the only applause that really matters come from the Lord. Live for His applause and your life will be well lived.
Have a great football season!