Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Coaching and Playing for Jesus

Good Morning: I receive this daily devotional from Links Player. Tony Dungy Lovie Smith and Aaron Baddeley teach us that whatever we do, we do it for the Glory of God. Bryan

Dear Links Player,
On Sunday, three remarkable men showed that sports can be doubly fun when they are played with Christ at the center. Let's see through today's devotional how that makes a difference for all of us.

The Lord's Way

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14, NIV)

"...two Christian coaches, showing you can win doing it the Lord's way."

Those words are credited to Tony Dungy, head coach of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, describing the kind of work he and Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith did to get their teams to the NFL's ultimate game.

Of course, golf fans know that Dungy and Smith were not alone as winners doing it the Lord's way on Sunday. Across the country in Scottsdale, at the FBR Open, Aaron Baddeley fired consecutive 64s on the weekend to catch Jeff Quinney and hold his second trophy in less than a year on the PGA Tour.

At 25, Baddeley is beginning to realize the potential he showed when he won first the Australia Open as a teenage amateur seven years ago. And he's doing it the Lord's way.

The Lord's way is a long way from a lot of the scenarios played out during the Super Bowl's stream of commercials, particularly those pointing to other network fare.

In fact, the contrast was so stark when some of those advertisements played right after Dungy's comment, that you could hardly miss being reminded of the conflicting kingdoms on display: the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.

Sadly, it was equally stark each time NBC's commentators tried to "equalize" the drunken revelry that occurs annually at the FBR Open by saying things like, "Oh, but the amount of money this tournament gives to charity is phenomenal."

Now, I am fully aware that it is judgments of differences like these that garner criticism for followers of Christ, that we are party-pooping naysayers.

But if Dungy and Smith and Baddeley (and a large number of other faith-focused athletes) show us anything, it is that the greatest of all fun is when we win and win in the way God intended us to win. That way includes integrity and perseverance. It shows humility and self-control. It gives generously, especially when it comes to positive words about those who are doing well and compassion toward those who are not.

It is good to see these qualities in the athletes on television. And it is good to see them in those we know close to home who are set to the task of living righteously. But it is best to know that we ourselves are moving closer to this Christlike nature that wins games, perhaps—or contracts or friendships—but above all that wins the eternal approval of our Righteous Judge, the only One who can say without discrepancy, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Therein, the Lord will acknowledge that we have done it His way.

Jeff Hopper
February 6, 2007
Copyright 2007 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday- Friday at www.linksplayers.com.

The Links Letter 2007 annual magazine, featuring Jonathan Byrd, Scott Simpson, Stephanie Louden, Ken Blanchard, Craig Kanada, and more, is now available from Links Players International for individuals or groups. To find out more, visit us here.

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