2 Timothy 3:12 “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (NIV)
Picture the scenario. It’s the semi-final game in a soccer tournament. You are trailing by one goal with less than five minutes left in the match. You’re tired. You’re hurting. You have fought every step of the way, but just can’t score the equalizer. You leave nothing on the field, but the final whistle blows, and you can’t secure a win that would send you to the final. As the opposing team celebrates a hard fought victory, you sit in the grass, head down, while the brilliant rays of a golden sun slowly fade into twilight.
In that moment, you have to somehow put aside the disappointment of losing the battle, and turn your focus onto what is going to be shared with the other team. With tears in your eyes, you have to stand up in front of guys that have been cursing and hurling racial slurs at you the entire game, and share about Jesus and One7. It’s easy when you win. it’s a completely different story when you lose.
We don’t win every game or tournament we participate in, so it’s inevitable that this situation will happen. There’s really no way to prepare for it. You go into every match thinking you will secure a victory. Not out of arrogance or pride, but with a sense of confidence in your self and the other members of your team. The guys you sweat, bleed, and fight with on the soccer field. Your brothers. Your family.
Our teams face persecution nearly every single game they play. It comes in many different forms. Other players cursing at them, purposefully trying to injure them, or just repeatedly tossing racial remarks in their direction. As hard as it is, our guys don’t retaliate. They play respectfully and with great sportsmanship. Then win or lose, they stand in front of their persecutors and share the Gospel. There have been some amazing, life-changing stories that come out of sharing with the other teams.
Everything we do at One7 is for God’s glory. We understand nothing in this life is guaranteed. We have just a short time on this earth to proclaim the message of Christ to a lost and darkened world. While we have other avenues to accomplish this such as community outreach, discipleship, and serving others, soccer is our biggest stage. We will never take advantage of that fact and just passionately play the sport for our own glory,
God gave us the best Heaven had to offer when He gave us Jesus. We owe it to Him to give our best in everything we do.