Jesus doesn’t need me, but loves to have me share in His ministry with Him. When Jesus was making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His disciples began to praise and cry out in worship, only to be rebuked by the unbelieving Pharisees. And Jesus’ response to those Pharisees was that if His disciples were silent, then the very rocks would cry out in praise. Either way, Jesus WILL be praised.
In other words, it’s a joy and privilege to be able to worship Jesus, to be able to represent Him as a professional athlete where the Lord has me right now, but He could just as easily use the rocks to cry out instead, if He so desired.
I often feel the “I’m the only one” belief rise up in my thoughts, thinking there are very few others that are trying to faithfully and obediently follow the Lord in the sphere of professional athletics. This can be a discouraging thought. I feel alone in the fight, that nobody else is taking their faith seriously, they aren’t using their “platform” as well as they should be, and therefore I have to make the most of my opportunity to pick up the slack. This obviously isn’t true, but I can feel isolated like this at times.
Although this “platform” is valuable and is a big responsibility, God doesn’t need me. If I lived under a rock for the rest of my life, the Lord would continue His work, and He could even use that rock I’m hiding under to sing of His name. Therefore, I don’t have to feel the weight of the platform as if the Lord can’t do it without me. Rather, I get to rest in the joy of the platform, that I can represent the Creator of Heaven and earth to as much of His creation as possible.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:10
I want to represent Christ well. In order to not swing too far on the pendulum of “God doesn’t need me” and “He could use rocks,” I must also preach to myself the need to represent Christ well. I can too quickly fall prey to the idea that I don’t need to be using my platform, that the Lord will do His work either way, and I don’t need to be weighed down by the responsibility of the platform. But the truth is, God has placed me specifically on this team, in this sport, in this city, and has prepared me for these good works before the foundations of the world, and therefore I need to walk in them.
There is a call on the life of the Christian to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ, obedient to His law, for it brings joy and human flourishing, and desiring that the whole world would know the grace and mercy that is found only in Him. There is a lot of work to be done. If all nations and peoples and tongues are going to hear the Gospel, then we need to keep moving, keep working, and keep being obedient.
For me, that means I need to continue to represent Christ well, continue to share the Gospel with teammates and colleagues, and use my platform to make much of the name of Jesus Christ. Not in place of my family, not because I have to, but because the Lord allows me to join in His work, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.
“You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” — Psalm 16:11
— Ryan Hollingshead, FC Dallas midfielder/defender
Ryan Hollingshead is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Ryan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/ryan-hollingshead/
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