As coaches and athletes, we know the importance of being surrounded by teammates who make us better. We consider our goals and look for others who will help us make those goals a reality. But when was the last time we considered how vital a caring teammate is to our success? In the sports world, we often overlook care or kindness as important. The sports experience can lead us to believe that being caring or kind is a weak character trait, something contrary to strength and power.
But when we look at healthy teams, teammates who demonstrate care for others often act as the “glue players” who hold the team together. They want what’s best for everyone on the team and pay attention to the needs of others while still working hard.
As Christians in the sports world, having faith in Jesus to forgive us of our sins and believing in Him for new life changes our understanding of success. It’s no longer about winning or being better than everyone else, but by God’s grace, having our core motivations, desires and behaviors changed to reflect Jesus. Knowing Jesus and becoming like Him is now our greatest gift and ultimate goal, and now we look for teammates who reflect His care and kindness.
Our understanding of kindness must be shaped by our understanding of God, and His kindness is not weak. He was constantly concerned with the well-being of others and this led Him to action. The Bible points us to the care and kindness Jesus showed toward others and how this care is a strength. Galatians 5:22 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness…”. This kindness describes someone who is sensitive to the needs of others and concerned for their well-being. This kindness not only sees those needs, but in goodness takes action to meet them. It’s the kindness reflected in the heart of our God, who is overflowing with kindness.
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Psalm 103:8)
Knowing Jesus and becoming like Him is now our greatest gift and ultimate goal.
The Bible also teaches us that apart from the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, our hearts are not like Jesus’s. After watching Jesus heal and meet the needs of so many different people, Matthew 18 tells us that the disciples came to Jesus arguing about who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. While Jesus shows deep care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those around Him, the disciples were concerned with power and being better than one another. Isn’t this true of ourselves? We are often more concerned about our own well-being than the well-being of others.
But God made a way for their hearts, and ours, to be changed. When we put faith in Jesus, His Holy Spirit comes to live in us and transforms our motives, giving us power to care for others the way Jesus did.
“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32)
Where they once were concerned with their own well-being, the grace of God compelled them with joy to care for one another.
We need men and women around us who demonstrate hearts of kindness by paying attention to the needs of those around them. The core motivation of this kindness is to point others to the goodness of God and the grace He’s given us in Jesus. Sometimes it looks like offering a listening ear, helping a teammate with homework or sending a gift to someone just because. There are so many ways we can demonstrate the care of Jesus, and we need teammates who care about us enough to encourage us to walk this out the way Jesus did.
Consider: How do you show Christ like care or kindness to those around you? Who are the teammates around you teach you the most about Jesus’ care and kindness?
Action: Take time to pray about your core motivations in life – is being kind and caring like Jesus a core motivation of yours? Why or why not? Talk to the Lord and ask for help to be alert to the needs of others, with a heart like His.
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
Article Three: Loyal: Steadfast and True
*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:
Makena Schroder serves as the Ministry Advancement Coordinator for FCA in the Pacific Northwest Region, supporting staff with ministry training and resources. She attended Texas Christian University and competed in track and field where she discovered a love for knowing God through study of His Word. Makena's greatest joys include time with family (check her Instagram for regular hilarious videos), good food, and time outdoors.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash