“My son, my daughter, give me thine heart”
As a leader in this crazy ministry movement we are calling Athletes InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I am uncovering the high call my job asks me to make on behalf of our Lord. Do I dare invite the student athletes and those around me to give their WHOLE hearts to Jesus? What kind of repercussions could that have on their lives which are scaffolded around their sport?
In light of my reflections on the athlete’s heart, I invite you to consider what this means for the people in your community? Can I invite you to have faith to believe that the people in your communities can indeed lay down all they have clung to and through fear and mourning hand it all to the Lord? Perhaps you can relate to what I am learning about sharing the gospel in it’s full invitation.
In scripture we find an account of a rich young man who wants to serve God, wants eternal life, a fulfilling life, but wants it by his own means. This man could not give up his wealth in order to follow Jesus.
And so my heart panics a bit. If an athlete’s currency is their ability, how will they ever give it up to the Lord so they can invest in Him alone?
But Jesus continues what is impossible with man is possible with God. Ok, so this is what I must remember; this is what I must know and believe.
Athletes are good at tasks; they store up training for the day they will perform. In this way, athletics can often (sadly) be high ritual and low moral, low heart. But in the ministry of Athletes InterVarsity we want to engage hearts. God wants our whole hearts, for our joy and freedom.
As AIV staff, our temptation is to ask athletes only to make God a part of it all, a part of their sport, their performance, their daily life. But will we ask them to allow God to be Lord of it all. Are we daring enough to believe that Jesus wants to creatively redeem the athlete’s whole life; not fearing the reality that they must lay down that in which they put their heart, stock and identity, even if that means giving up their sport?
It is a high call to go where we fear, and what we fear as athletes ourselves, is calling student-athletes not only to trust Jesus with their sport and performance, their success and their reputation but to give it all to Him.
Jesus says the last will be first and the first will be last. Can we call athletes to be last? Does this mean we are calling athletes to be losers? I’m just externally processing here, but yes I think it’s true.
Scripture says whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life will keep it. If we give our sport to God, perhaps if and when he gives it back it will become what it is supposed to be.
Like finishing the marathon when you could quit at mile 16; we must decide if it worth going all the way. For true joy, freedom and the creative redemption of our lives and this world- yes, I say, yes it is worth it.
After hiring 3 new Athletes InterVarsity staff this year, it seems we have ourselves a team here in New England. As a team leader I am encouraging us to be sensitive to the spirit, obedient and Christ-centered, always remembering our vision as we move forward on the front edge of this athlete movement. Please pray for us and follow along as we continue to develop and grow.