Today’s reading is Philippians 3:1-21.
Over the last few years as our kids are getting older, I’ve found that July and August are 2 of my favorite months of the year because we have a break between Summer and Fall activities giving us a lot more family nights at home, as well as weekends. It is also one of my least favorite times of the year because it is when we do tryouts for the baseball and basketball teams I help coach. Trying to be fair to both those kids who played for you last season and to those who only get a few hours to show their skills to determine who should fill an open spot or possibly replace an existing player is really tough to say the least. Many kids and families are going to be disappointed. While facing challenges and disappointments are a part of life that all must learn to deal with at some point it just never feels good when you are partly responsible as a coach helping to make these decisions. It is impossible to make everyone happy. There is so much good that comes out of these teams with new kids and family relationships built, the spiritual development of the kids in our faith-based organization I am a part of, and the improvement on the court and field. It is so fun to try to help them, make an impact, and see their growth and development. However, we also see a lot of the politics and ugly side come out during tryout time. Parents want to get their child on the best team they feel will win, get their child playing time, and even play a certain position. Is that wrong? Can you blame them with the time and money they are investing in these teams for their child? I know my wife and I want the best fit for our children. Coaches also try to recruit players off of other teams and don’t always handle the situations of how to part ways with a past player for a new player the most gracefully. It’s complicated. It’s tough. No judgement here. We are all human which means we make mistakes and don’t always handle things the best way.
You don’t have to look too far today to see anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are a huge problem today. We are both more connected to everyone on social media and yet more isolated because of it. We see everyone’s highlight-reel 24-7. I don’t know how many championships and MVPs I see posted on Sunday each week and dream vacations and kids’ and professional awards in between (I post them, too). This creates “fear of missing out” or commonly referred to as FOMO. Competition is good in pushing us to get the most out of our God-given talents, but we live in a society where comparison consumes our society. I really like the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison is robbing us of the joy to appreciate the simple moments in life with our own family and our own kids and appreciating their specific God-given talents and abilities.
I love sports and believe they can be used to glorify God. However, what is more important….what our child’s batting average is and how many trophies they win or if they develop into a person who loves Jesus, loves their family, and uses to the maximum whatever gifts God has given them in life now and as an adult (which are likely outside of sports)? We also must realize that what we see on social media is not all that is going on in someone’s life. No one’s life is perfect. They have challenges going on they are not sharing which they are dealing with like sickness, pain, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship, or financial issues. They have problems just like you may be facing . It’s like the family picture who everyone says looks so cute, but you remember the screaming and crying that took place 2 minutes before and after no one knows about. We need to stop thinking someone else’s highlight reel should be our everyday. We forget how blessed we are personally.
In these verses Paul gives us some great takeaways to apply. In Philippians 3:13-14. he tells us to forget what lies behind, the past and to move on to the ultimate goal to the prize of Jesus Christ. We’ve all made mistakes. He’s telling us to forget them. Paul talks about competition a lot and seems to love sports, but he’s telling us to reflect on if earthly trophies which will break and get thrown away are more important or our crown in Heaven from a relationship with Jesus which will last eternity? He tells us in the very first verse of Philippians 3:1 to rejoice in the Lord, not championships.
We all want more. We want our kids to be on the best team and go to the best school. We all want to go on the best vacations, have the best spouse, and have the best job. We all want to belong. However, Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20..
But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to himself.
There is no FOMO for the most important team we want us and all our children to be on for eternity. No tryout is needed. We don’t have to do any earthly thing to make the team. We are already on it not through our doing, but through His sacrifice and grace given on the cross. We’ve already made it through faith when we believe and accept Jesus into our heart.
Have you accepted the invite to Team Jesus? Have your children? Are you and your family rejoicing in belonging to the most important team there is? I pray that all the kids and families who did or did not make teams this time of year can find peace and joy in this which is what is most important.