All of us are probably familiar with tales of athletes who didn’t leave it all out on the field. Just this past weekend, Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans was criticized by his coach, Jeff Fisher, because he didn’t “dig deep and fight” after a disappointing injury and season collapse. But Young is only the latest in a string of superstar athletes who appear to hold something back – who are seemingly unwilling to give it all in order to win the game.
We often behave similarly as Christians. We keep parts of our lives for ourselves, telling God that He can have everything except that one thing that we treasure most. It’s the common occurrence of someone saying “God, I will go anywhere you want me to go, as long as it’s not a missionary in Africa.” (BTW – I have a friend who is a missionary in Africa who gets to be a part of amazing work that God is doing so we all might want to reconsider that reservation.) We know we’re supposed to give God everything, just like the athlete knows they are supposed to play full force into the whistle is blown, but we don’t, because we’re afraid of how that might cost us personally.
However, what I’ve learned is that if we aren’t willing to give Christ our all, we really aren’t willing to really give Christ anything. When I wrote recently about some painful circumstances, a friend asked me why I shared them with the world when I hadn’t even told close friends. It was because I realized that if I wasn’t willing to let God use those things to minister to others, than I really wasn’t willing to give Him everything. If we only give that which is easy for us, than we haven’t learn what it means to take up our cross to follow Him. And being a Christian means following Him. Everything must be on the line. Our pain, our joys, our family, our friends – we must be willing to give Christ it all so that He may use it for His glory.
Vince Young was criticized by his coach because he held back and when things didn’t go his way, he was not willing to sacrifice his ego for the team. When our Coach talks about us, may He not say the same.