Athlete, Here is Real Love
Romans 12:9 (ESV)
Let love be genuine.
We hear the word “love” often in our society today. It describes our enjoyment of music, sports and other consumer goods. Often it’s one of the last words we use when talking to family or significant others.
Our culture preaches the acceptance and love of everyone. But what kind of weight is the word carrying anymore?
And does genuine love have any place in our athletic pursuits? Afterall, society tells us to chase our dreams by any means necessary, which doesn’t seem to leave much room for other people.
In fact, our self-driven, self-made world encourages a superficial love with self-seeking tendencies. We use the word “love” and care about others as long as they help us get where we are wanting to go. Others become a means of reaching our goal and nothing more.
This encourages manipulation and deceit in the name of personal achievement and advancement. Can this be the love Jesus had in mind when He said the entire world would know we belong to Him if we “have love for one another” (John 13:35)?
Emphatically not! We know this because what I just described couldn’t be further from the love Jesus lived out.
Jesus’ love compelled Him to come and live in our lowly human form instead of watching from a distance as we struggled (Philippians 2:5-7). During His stay on earth He didn’t spend His time rubbing elbows with the societal elite or making friends with people that could raise His status.
He ate with tax collectors, talked with lepers, healed the sick and blessed children. Ultimately, the love of Jesus led to abandonment, shame and the Cross.
Jesus’ love cost Him something. God’s love for us cost Him His Son (John 3:16: Romans 5:8).
Is our love costing us anything? Obviously I’m not calling us to sacrifice our physical lives, but we should reflect on whether or not our “love” leads to action.
Our teammates are in our lives to do more than win games and help us reach the pros. We love them by taking time to get to know them, searching for ways to serve them and striving to help them reach their highest potential.
Maybe we stay with them after practice for some extra reps, offer them a ride to class, have them over for a meal, or invite them to go bowling to unwind and enjoy themselves.
No playbook exists for how to serve those around us, but the love should be tangible and more than positive thoughts and well wishes (James 2:15,16).
As recipients of the most scandalous, undeserved, extravagant and sacrificial love the world knows, we should be known and recognized for extending that same love to others.
Reflect: Who is someone I could love-on more? How can I show this?