16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  – 1 John 3:16

Sports provide a great opportunity to practice what we believe. Our games and practices are a setting, similar to a laboratory, where our character and identity are tested and revealed. One of the qualities that is tested the most is our ability to love one another. In our culture, it’s a challenge to love others when you are so focused on your performance, stats, and future. Any time those seemed in jeopardy, my care for my teammates was the first thing to go. The truth is that the command to love others should not be contingent on our performance or setting.

Hanging on the cross, Jesus had every right and excuse to stop loving us, but even then He forgave the condemning crowd and one of the criminals by His side. By looking at Jesus, we see that love is selfless and sacrificial. He was never so consumed with Himself that He lost sight of the people around Him. We are called to reflect this same love towards one another.

This really comes down to what we prioritize more: our performance and stats or loving our teammates. You may be tempted to think that focusing less on yourself and your performance and more on loving your teammates might negatively affect your play, but have you ever noticed the common response of a player or coach when they are interviewed after winning a championship? Here’s just one example:

“When you get a young group of people that believe, are passionate, they love each other, they sacrifice, they’re committed to a single purpose, you better look out. Great things can happen and that’s what you saw tonight.” – Dabo Swinney, Clemson Head Football Coach

I encourage you today to seek ways to selflessly and sacrificially love your teammates.

  • Reflect on Jesus’s sacrificial and selfless love for you.
  • Thank Him for His love.
  • Ask Him to reveal ways you can love your teammates and those around you today.