We all know them. The players and teammates who are completely sold out to the team. The ones who know and embrace their role and gladly do what’s necessary for the good of the team. Whether it’s staying after practice to help someone with their jump shot or laying down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner or even writing encouraging notes and leaving them in our lockers, there’s something special about knowing someone has our back no matter what.
It frees us up to play to the best of our ability and inspires us to give a little extra of our time and energy, too. Those are the kind of people we like to have around, because we know they wholeheartedly believe in the mission and pledge loyalty to the team.
That’s who we want in our corner: someone who is loyal and willing to stick it out with us no matter how hard things get. When we’re evaluating the types of qualities of people we want to surround ourselves with, one of our main assessments should be how loyal someone is. First and most important, it’s based off how committed they are to Jesus. If someone is completely captivated by Christ, it’s a pretty good indication that they’re going to be committed to walking alongside us and helping us grow in our own faith.
We see this in the lives of Jesus’s disciples. Though vastly different from each other, they believed in Jesus and His teachings and dedicated their lives to follow Him. As they spent more time understanding His heart, they understood that allegiance to Christ meant loving and serving His people.
Let’s take a closer look at the loyalty of one of Jesus’s biggest turnaround disciples: Matthew.
By trade, Matthew was a betrayer to his fellow Jews. As a tax collector, he worked with the Roman government extracting high prices from the Jewish people and pocketing portions for himself. The Jews considered him a sellout and unloyal to his heritage and faith.
The best kind of people to be around are those who are willing to stick by our side through the ups and downs and twists and turns of life.
But then Jesus found Matthew and asked if he wanted to follow Him. He didn’t hesitate.
“As Jesus went on from there [Nazareth], He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow Me,’ He told him, and Matthew got up and followed Him.” (Matthew 9:9)
Immediately, Matthew left the life he knew and began a new one with Jesus. Walking closely with Jesus transformed this former single-focused tax collector and began to write a new mission for his life: from greedy to generous; from dishonest to loyal; from selfish to a servant.
He cemented his loyalty to Jesus in a willingness to endure ridicule, first from the Jewish people for his position, and even from his fellow disciples who still scorned his previous way of living. But Matthew’s curiosity and desire to know more about Jesus kept his eyes and heart fixed on his Teacher. The account of Jesus’s life through his Gospel is meticulous, full of fact and awe and rich in Jewish history connecting to Jesus. Matthew didn’t mess around and was unwavering in his support of Jesus.
The best kind of people to be around are those who are willing to stick by our side through the ups and downs and twists and turns of life. They sit with us in the valley but make sure we don’t stay there. If we’re heading somewhere we shouldn’t be or starting to hang around people who may not be the best encouragers, loyal teammates will come and find us, speak life into our confused souls and redirect us back to the love of Christ.
“Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3)
It’s the quiet, everyday moments of devotion that soften and intrigue hearts towards the love of Jesus. Who in your life do you admire for their gentle spirit and genuine commitment to God and His people? How can you adjust your own life to seek out good for others and send someone a bit of hope and encouragement?
When we keep our hearts anchored to the Lord, we remain steady through life’s storms and know that the people in our lives will do the same.
One way to evaluate the team and Pursue Team is to find an FCA Huddle to get involved with. The Huddle is one of FCA’s greatest teams. It is an important resource to help coaches and athletes grow in the essentials of their faith and become fully devoted followers of Christ. As a coach or athlete connects to an FCA Huddle, they will surround themselves with teammates who point to Jesus. Bring a friend and find a Huddle near you!
Want to learn more about pursuing team and growing your relationship with God? Head to FCA in Action and read our July Pursue articles:
Anchor Article: Take Assessment: Evaluate the Team
Article Two: Confidence: Standing Firm
*If you read this article and aren’t in relationship with Christ yet but would like to know more, we invite you to go through FCA’s The FOUR that explains how an everlasting and fulfilling life with God is possible.
About the Author:
Sarah Freymuth is the communications manager for FCA and writes content for blogs, articles, Bible reading plans and devotionals that share God's heart with coaches and athletes. She played softball for Concordia University Wisconsin, is in their Hall of Fame, and has led FCA Huddles since high school. Dark roast coffee makes her happy, as does telling stories about God and His people to the world. She'd love to speak to your Huddle or group; connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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