The comments below are from Tommy Nelson’s notes who preaches at Denton Bible Church.
There are things in our old life that providentially prepared us for the course of our Christian lives.
Do you know what the chief thing was in my life? It was being a football player. Not just an athlete but a football player. Football is not an Olympic sport. Only American’s play it. Olympic football would start wars. It’s just too violent.
But you know what? It gave me an edge in life that a lot of my pals never had. There were things that I was force fed that became second nature. It’s been said that unless you were an athlete, a farmer, or in the military that, with the state of fatherhood today, you probably never learned these things.
- I had to discipline my body to do what I did not feel like. Feelings were submitted to vision.
- I had to co-exist with discomfort and being stretched. Physical and emotional toughness were requirements.
- I had to submit to authority… that I often didn’t care for.
- I had to be a team man. I had to bend with others, encourage others, and recognize them.
- I had to do short term things that had no immediate recompense in order to attain to an ultimate success.
- I had to master certain skills.
- I had to maintain poise when hopelessly beaten just to keep a standard.
- I had to come back after extreme discouragement.
- I had to finish… the practice, the game, the season, the scholarship. I could not quit.
- I had to follow rules that other people didn’t because I wanted something beyond me.
- I had to do something with excellence just because of personal pride in who I was.
- I had to represent a school and a group of people with distinction.
I didn’t realize the benefit of football growing up because ball players were all I knew. But then I got in the ministry with regular folks. I discovered that many of the things that had become instinctive to me were alien to them. So often they did not dream for something greater than themselves. Often, they had a habit of quitting what they began or often not committing to anything that would curtail their freedoms. Too often when things got tough, they would take off. Many of them could not function on a team or be responsible to duty. Many could not submit to authority.
But I found out that these attributes were not original to sports but to the Bible’s view of successful living.
- Dream! Have a life that goes beyond you.
- Do the short term things that will lead to ultimate success.
- Finish… Finish… Finish. Quitting is a learned art.
- Be excellent in all you do with a sense of personal pride in who you are.
- Discipline. Make a habit of quiet times… prayer… giving… church.
- Live higher than the crowd. Have a moral standard that sets you apart.
- Achieve. Let each year take you intellectually higher and ministerially higher and farther. Let no year pass without a sense of growth.
- Be a team man able to work under authority.
Live on purpose. Not just on passions and instincts.