The day the game changed is when I fully realized it’s not about me. I am replaceable and soon my name will be forgotten from my team. I wasn’t sent to this team to write my name in an insignificant record book, but to help others write their names on the halls of eternity, that is, the walls of heaven! I realized by showing the love of Jesus Christ, the impact would be everlasting.
One way we as athletes can show the love of Jesus is by becoming like Jesus as a servant leader.
These two terms, serving and leadership, sound contradicting... so I decided to dig into 3 things the Bible tells us that help us to understand better what it means to be a servant leader. Let's unpack this passage in Acts:
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” - Acts 20:32-35
1. The first thing Paul mentions in this passage in order to become a servant leader is fully seeking God and not worldly wealth.
It doesn’t matter whether we are captains or an incoming freshman, we are all leaders in the fact that our goal is to lead others to Jesus. This means we must lay down our worldly desires and seek to fulfill God’s work in us every day. This means we are to lay down every circumstance to God. Whether this is a team practice or an individual workout, whether we are someone who never leaves the field or never sees the field, or whether we are healthy or injured, God’s light can shine through it all. We must seek God and pleasing God, over winning or getting any personal glory. This is the first mindset change we must make in order to be a servant leader like Jesus.
2. The second item mentioned in this passage is hard work.
As athlete’s, hard work is no foreign concept to us, but God calls us to more than just physical hard work. He calls us to hard work in ALL that we do. People will see how we work, and how we work will reflect who we work for! How we work includes a multitude of aspects: our attitude, sportsmanship, work ethic, encouragement, sacrifice, discipline, responsibility, etc. These are all characteristics God desires us to display every day.
3. The final thing we are called to do in this passage in order to be servant leaders is to help others.
We should constantly be asking ourselves, what do my teammates need? How can I be helping them? Ultimately our goal is to show and tell others about the love of Jesus Christ. One of the best ways we can do this is to simply help others. This can be as simple as a word of kindness or taking someone to ice cream after they’ve had a rough day.
We are all called to serve in different ways and hold unique gifts, which is so cool! But in order to maximize these gifts and lead others to Christ we must always fully seek God, work with a kingdom vision, and help others. Some of these parts are easier for us than others, so ask God to reveal to you how you can become more like Jesus in this way, how you can develop those qualities of a servant leader. There was nothing better than getting to play the game I love, while serving the one I love the most. The game will change when we stop chasing fame and fulfillment and begin to chase hearts instead.
So those are three simple ways to be a servant leader like Jesus. First, seek God more than you seek your own glory. Work so hard that people get a glimpse of the God you are working for. Lastly, always look for ways to help others.
Hi FAM! I am from Kalispell, Montana and was a multi-sport athlete at Flathead High School. I went on to play soccer and also pursued a short lived track career at the University of Montana. I am currently living and working for a year in Ukraine with an organization called Mennonite Central Committee. I work in a local organization here that works with families who are marginalized, in crisis, or economically disadvantaged. I love simply spending time with people and having the opportunity every day to grow God’s family here on earth.