It is the fourth quarter, the ninth inning, or the last period. Quick! What is your battle cry?
For some it is, “So glad this is almost over!” but for others it is, “What an opportunity this has been—I am going to give it everything I have until the final buzzer!”
Speaking as a veteran spectator, I have often been able to sense which team members are in it until the very end. This includes the ones on the field and the ones on the sidelines. Athletes who are invested in the best interest and welfare of the team are the ones who are still pushing through adversity, still cheering, still high-fiving, still looking for opportunities to score, and still playing tough defense. Toward the end of the game when you watch this caliber of player, you should not be able to tell what the scoreboard says. Whether their team is on their way to chalking up a victory or taking a loss, these athletes are all about team unity, team development, and team improvement.
We have all seen the type of player who quits on his or her teammates. Being a quitter, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally or all of the above, is a self-centered quality. It is a characteristic that says, “I am done. What matters is how I feel.” Unfortunately, most of the time this mindset is contagious. Other teammates join in on the sluggish, spiritless style and soon the team is not only battling their opponents, they have a whole new conflict on their hands.
Just as an “I give up” attitude can spread throughout a team, so can the attitude that says, “No matter the outcome, we are going to be relentless in our effort.” Have you been in both situations? I challenge you to be the type of athlete who spurs their teammates on to the finish line. That athlete is the one who is often called upon to be a leader and a motivator. That is the athlete who reflects Christ on the court.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. (2 Thessalonians 3:13)
Dear Lord, I desire to be an athlete who can be depended on to give my best effort until the very last moment of the contest. Whether I am sitting on the bench or playing on the court, Lord, I pray that I will represent You in the way I conduct myself. May others see determination, perseverance, and hope in me. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.