I know it hurts
But, be joyful and celebrate; it’s for your own good…

“I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.”

The game is over. You’re sore.

Today’s Gospel reminds us that we are to be joyful. How do we combine a spirit of joyfulness and our temporary pain? Is there anything in sports that might help us be Jesus’ joy to the world?

One athlete who, in light of eternity, always thought her God-given abilities in sport were “kind of a dumb gift”. For years she wished she had been given a gift to play an instrument or to be good at public speaking so that she could easily reach out to others with God’s love. Then one day she discovered a ministry that uses sports to share the love and life of Jesus with people around the world. It seemed like a perfect fit. In her heart, she felt like God was telling her, “Look, here is what I’ve been wanting you to do with the gift I have given you!” All of a sudden, what once seemed like a “dumb gift” now seemed like an incredible gift that God had purposed all along. It was a gift that gave her joy and brought Him glory.

For her, and for us, the sports field is a sacred place where we experience life with God; life within our faith community. In play we shine brightly for Him.

God desires that we live joyful lives and that we bring His joy into all we do. We can and must celebrate God, our salvation, and have great joy at the same time.

As Christians we do all as a means to declare and display the significance of Who He is – even in our temporary aches and pains.

As we live our daily lives, playing sports, exercising, working, teaching, being family, neighbors, and friends, let us consider what it means to worship God through all those avenues. Let us consider how in doing all this we, like that one athlete, bring God’s joy to the world.

In the film Chariots of Fire, athlete Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christian says, “I believe God made me for a purpose: China. But he also made me fast! And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” These words reflect his attitude, which revealed a holy competitiveness. He felt at joyful and at peace using his God-given ability to run fast in worship of God.

Don’t let worship be just about singing, music, or sitting in church. Let worship be the joy filled way we approach all we do, and how we show God’s joy in all we do.