Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who Do You Play For?

In the arena of competition, who do you play for? Do you play for your family, coaches, friends, school, or significant other?  Although you may play to make these people proud, Fellowship of Christian Athletes reminds its members to play first for Jesus, the One who paid their debts on the cross, in all aspects of their life.
            The St. Edward’s softball team currently has an 18-13 overall record and is 6-0 in the Heartland Conference as they set their sights on bringing a national championship home to the Hilltop.
            “Our goal is to take one game at a time and work together to finish every inning to get to the World Series,” senior Courtney Lavender said.
            All teams have their ups and downs during their season, but it is important for them to continue to play together.  According to Junior Meagen Bailey, the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 is important in building a strong team that works together.
            “Having love for the game and having love for my teammates is important.  Playing together is the only way to be successful and win,” Bailey said.  “When love is what binds us all together, it will be hard to break us because big hearts go a long way.”
For some members of their team playing together and winning a national championship are not their only goals.  They also have their eyes focused on an eternity in Heaven as they suit up in their St. Edward’s uniforms and put on the full armor of God as they play for Him on and off the field. 
            “I glorify God on and off the field by praising and thanking Him each day for the abilities He has given me,” Lavender said.  “Without Him I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I am so thankful for all He has blessed me with!”
            At all times, these Christian competitors turn to the Bible for encouragement.
            “My favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.  This verse talks about putting trust in the Lord and to not lean on your own understandings of things that happen,” sophomore Marissa Thome said.  “I have been playing softball for more than 15 years and I know that I need to put all my trust in God, knowing He has lead me this far and will continue to be with me on and off the field.  If I make an error or an at-bat doesn’t go my way, I know that God has a plan for me and there was a reason for the outcome of the play.”
            As full-time student-athletes, they live to share the love of God to everyone, including those not involved in the world of sports.
            “I want God to use me as a tool to help spread His Word and love in a way that will make non-believers believe,” Bailey said.
            Any play they make, run they score, homerun they hit, or base they steal, these athletes credit the talents God has blessed them with.  They realize that these talents were given to them by God so that He can work through them.  At the end of the day, they know that none of their accomplishments are possible without God on their side.
            “I hope to glorify God by stepping on the field and giving Him nothing less than my best," Bailey said.  “I think I’m pretty lucky to be playing for the Big Man upstairs.”

As the Hilltopper softball team continues their regular season play, keep up with their game results, Heartland Conference standings, and NCAA Division II softball rankings at the following links:
St. Edward's Softball
Heartland Conference Softball
NCAA Division II Softball Rankings

Interested in the Bible verses listed above?  Click below to read the full verse:
1 Corinthians 13
Proverbs 3:5-6