Faithlife Sermons

Faith and Football

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Young people often grimace when they hear the word "test".  To them, it means long hours of memorizing information that they feel is pretty worthless in real life.  The benefit of getting an A or a B doesn't weigh as heavily in their minds as the sacrifice of time and effort in study.  In their minds, it's a net loss and causes many to ask, "Why do I have to know all this stuff?"

It's the same way many of us react to tests that come our way.  The hardship of losing a job or struggling though an illness is pretty overwhelming.  Some may speak up and say, "Where God closes a door, he opens a window," but the door slams shut long before there's enough light to see where the window is.  We all "know" that good can come from hard times, but at that moment, the benefits of the "by and by" doesn't weight as heavily as the pain and hurt we’re feeling right now.  It our minds, it's a net loss and causes many of us to ask, "Why do these things happen to me?"

But there is a type of test that people look at in a much different light - a football game.  Our local high school team advanced into the quarter finals this year, and with each advance, the teams they played were tougher and tougher.  All week long, the players knew what awaited them on the weekend - two hours of pounding, running, sweating, muscle aching . . . fun.  That' right - fun.  In spite of all the pain they knew they would feel, these guys eagerly looked forward to the whistle that started the game because they knew that the next two hours were going to be a test - a test of their preparation, endurance, skill and strength.  And they all were convinced that in the end, they would be victorious.

When we think about tests like this, we realize that they are an opportunity for us to show off our abilities.  We know they are going to be tough, but the hope of victory - the chance to stand proud with honor and integrity is so fulfilling that being beat up for a while doesn't slow us down.  We're full steam ahead - not thinking about the hardships or the struggles or the pain, but the victory ahead.

That's how James looked at tests.  He said it himself in (James 1:12).   Every hardship and struggle is not a "Why me" moment.  It's a "Give me the ball" moment.  The championship trophy awaits you.  Endure the hardship, keep your eye on the prize, and victory is yours.

Source: Scott Cody 02-15-08

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