Perry Chike looks at the concept of God and Sport, which is especially relevant following the Olympics and the many testimonies from athletes of how their faith has propelled and sustained them. He believes Christians should embrace their God-given gifts, including the talents God has blessed them with in a particular sport.
It is one thing to posses a treasure and an entirely different thing to recognise the true worth of that treasure and develop it to the best of one’s ability. What am I saying? Simply this, it’s not just being in the possession of treasure that matters, but also being able to recognise its value and take advantage of the benefits that treasure can bring.
This truth dawned on me a few years ago, while visiting a West African country. A local told me that the region was filled with major mineral deposits close to the surface of the earth and that it was not uncommon for people to dig just a few metres and find gold
Can you imagine, such a precious commodity such as gold being so accessible? And, yet there were still so many people living in poverty in that region. So, it’s not the availability of treasure that matters, but knowing its value and having the ability to engage with that treasure for gainful living.
When a group of people don’t perceive the value of what they have been blessed with, no matter how precious that thing is, they won’t be able to enjoy its full benefits. Sadly I believe we often see this in the world today especially when it comes to God and sport as those who have a talent for sports so often underestimate its value.
A wise man once said, “When the purpose of a thing is undefined, abuse is inevitable.” I prefer to put it this way. “When the true worth of a thing is not perceived by its owner, it certainly will face the danger of misuse or worse still, abuse.”
Having spent close to two decades actively pursuing both God and sport I find it unfortunate when I see sports gifts or sporting potential misused or abused.
This is probably why, following my retirement from competitive sport, the Lord has called me into full time evangelical ministry, where I now serve as a sports evangelist. It is now my job to counsel young people who aspire to pursue a career in sport, as well as to minister to professional athletes.
The Bible tells us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
Note the word , EVERY, it didn’t say some. Sport is a gift from God!
Now, as I write to you, there are over four billion people, comprising of youths and young adults, who have been blessed with sporting potential and are currently competing in diverse sports all around the globe. Boys and girls, men and women competing at various levels. Some in age categories, some who are amateurs and others who are professionals.
So we have a lot of youth involved in sport, however I don’t think the vast majority of them really understand the purpose for which sport was created and why they have been gifted with sporting abilities. In fact, when quizzed on why they seek to be in sport, some indicate they are mostly driven by a quest for fame or greed for money.
God and sport and the right motivation
Ambition, a quest for fame or desire to accumulate riches are far from the reasons why God created sport. Friend, if it is a quest for fame or riches that is driving any of us then it is definitely a wrong motivation. I want every Christian sportsperson to discover this and keep this realisation at the forefront of their mind.
Ignorance of this simple fact is one of the main reasons why sport and the sporting gifts are been abused globally. Sadly, many young people view sport as an avenue through which they can enrich themselves. They aren’t aware that sport is a divinely orchestrated plan to better mankind.
Dr Naismith James, the founder of basketball said: “Basketball is not an accident, it was developed to meet a need”. That is to say, it didn’t just occur to him to place two baskets on the wall of that YMCA training gymnasium in Springfield, USA. The game was devised to meet a need and for a purpose.
Who do you think devised it? I want you to know and most especially all who are basketball players, that it was Jesus who created your sport. How He created every sport you will find out as I unpack this concept in future blog posts. For now I will simply quote John 1:3, “without Him was not anything made that was made.”
Friends, without Jesus, no sport was made. That’s why I believe God and sport are closely aligned. Glory!!! Jesus is Lord over basketball and every sport!