This story appears in FCA Magazine’s March/April 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
Several years ago, I attended a banquet hosted by the Clemson University football team and head coach Dabo Swinney. The theme for the event was “All In,” and the message for those in attendance was to join the program in its pursuit of being the best with a “sold-out devotion to the cause.”
We’re all devoted to something in our individual lives. The object of that devotion varies, but we can all identify with having a profound dedication to something. It’s an “All In” attitude backed by “All In” actions. Where do you spend most of your time? What do you think about most often? What brings you the most happiness and enjoyment?
Having been a coach for 10 years prior to joining FCA in 2002, I’ve experienced firsthand the deep level of devotion both careers require. An athlete with all the talent in the world will not succeed without being devoted to practice and preparation. A coach could draw up the best schemes a sport has ever seen, but without devotion to the development of players, success will be a distant dream.
Working in ministry—specifically sports ministry—is very similar. Ministry happens through relationships with coaches, athletes and other supporters, which can only come after time and energy spent with those people.
In my life, the deepest levels of devotion are directed toward developing my relationship with God, honoring and cherishing my wife, supporting and caring for our family, and serving the Lord while leading and directing this ministry.
As Christ-followers, our devotion to honoring God with our lives must be our top priority. A commitment to prayer, reading Scripture, listening to Christian music, being active in a church family, and serving those in need in our community are all core elements of devotion to God and living out His calling.
Our devotion to God through prayer is demonstrated by how “in touch” we remain with Him. Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV), we’re told: “pray without ceasing.”
Praying without ceasing does not necessarily mean praying every single minute of the day, but it is an encouragement to pray more than just a few minutes in the morning or evening. It’s an inspiration to develop that devotion to the Lord through a constant stream of communication. Much like a coach and his or her athletes, devotion is displayed in the time spent with one another and the sharing of thoughts, feelings and experiences. Spending perpetual time in prayer with God and bringing Him into every area of our lives is the definition of devotion for us here on earth.
The greatest heroes of the faith in the Bible all had a continuous line of communication with God to clearly hear, understand and follow His divine calling. The results of doing so are clearly stated in Joshua 3:5 (NIV) [editorial note added]: “Consecrate [or devote] yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you.”
When you devote yourself to something, you commit to going “All In.” Whether that’s your faith, marriage, family, team, sport or career, the indicators of devotion are consistent time and effort. Spend that time and effort in communication with God to clearly hear from Him, and follow His calling wherever it may lead. And, as it says in Joshua, through that devotion, expect the Lord to do amazing things.
Peace and blessings to you,