1 Timothy 4:8-9 – “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.”
My son has been trying out for a soccer team this week. Wednesday was a really tense night. The boys were nervous about their performance. The parents were just flat out concerned. You could cut the tension with a knife.
And while exercise and challenge are important, I was wondering about these same boys’ spiritual development. My son is truly blessed to play for an organization that is focused on glorifying God with their athleticism. It’s pretty special. But I’m not foolish enough to think that all the boys and coaches involved put Christ first. Goodness, I’m sure go to church with people who are not followers of Christ. We should never think that just because we are involved in an organization that professes Christ that everyone involved does. No, we must diligently profess Christ in our life no matter what!
You know, it’s hard to encourage my son to be a follower of Christ and still encourage him to crush the other team. It’s a delicate balance. But I know that him learning how to be aggressive and passionate on the soccer field while maintaining his Christian integrity is vitally important. It is a skill we all need to possess.
So while we encourage athletic ability in our culture, we need to just as diligently encourage spiritual ability in our young people – and each other. They (and we) need to learn to don the armor of God. They (and we) need to know how to handle challenges and aggressiveness. They (and we) need to know how to channel passion and manage anger. So, when you think that it’s just a pass time, it’s actually a learning moment for life lessons that will drive their future like nothing else.
I love soccer. I love watching my son play soccer. I love listening to him talk for hours about soccer “boots” and shin guards and new clothing. I love watching international soccer on Saturday mornings. I love giving him a hard time about what he eats when he knows Coach wouldn’t approve. I love his calm excitement when he scores a goal. I love his passionate tears when the game is just overwhelming. It’s all part of him growing up and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.