Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways,
obey his commands, hold firmly to him,
and serve him with all your heart and soul.
– Joshua 22:5 (New Living Bible)
How many times do we see athletes with all the physical tools fail to live up to their potential? Why does the athlete with everything going for him miss the mark and the one with limited ability bring home the prize? What’s the missing ingredient? As coaches, we know the importance of playing with heart. Time and time again, we see athletes accomplish amazing feats because they’re willing to push themselves beyond the expectations of others. They simply refuse to quit! The dictionary has many definitions for the word heart, but the one I like best describes it as the center of one’s being. The great distance runner Steve Prefontaine once said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice your gift.” Our heart reveals the very core of who we are.
What does it mean to love Jesus Christ with all our heart? We need look no further than the life of the Apostle Paul to find the answer. Paul was a man fanatically sold out to his Savior. He worked in season and out of season. He was tireless, unstoppable, and unwilling to accept defeat. There was no price too high for him to pay. His success in ministry was the result of heart. He was bold and fearless. If he lived or died was of no importance. What was important to Paul was that everyone hear the gospel. He would let nothing stand in his way. Now that’s playing with heart!
Heavenly Father, thank you for your never-ending love. Thank you for never giving up on me and for never leaving me alone. Give me a heart Lord to love you as well as the neighbors you have placed around me. Amen.