“Then He said to (them) all, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”
– Luke 9:23
“They just don’t have the want to that we used to have!” I hear that statement made repeatedly when veteran coaches gather to discuss changes in athletes over the past decade. It seems harder than ever to get young people to come out for athletic teams. When you are successful in getting them out, they often miss practice for unacceptable reasons, give in to minor injuries or just don’t put in the necessary work to get better. Selfishness often enters the locker room and teams are ruined by individual desires rather than what is best for the team. If athletes don’t get the ball enough or if their achievements aren’t singled out, they often become moody or disinterested. We know society has changed and unfortunately our athletes are modeling many of the negative traits. A strong work ethic, working as a team and self-sacrifice seem to have become “old school.”
Jesus saw it all! To build His disciples into a team took hard work. Twelve men, different backgrounds, individual gifts and a boatload of selfishness. Their level of commitment to Jesus and His teachings had more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride. Jesus followers often questioned His motives, turned their backs on His teachings or just plain deserted Him in times of need. I can almost hear them say, “It’s too hard”, “What do I get out of it”, or “Not me, I’m out!” In honesty, I have said or thought those things myself. Sometimes sports and life are just not easy. My experience has taught me that the best things are worth working for. Jesus says it’s going to be tough, we’re going to have to battle every day. While that’s true, the rewards are worth the effort.
Lord, give me the strength to battle for You today. Make my life a model worthy of bringing others to You. Amen.