It's interesting, at least in my experience, that God typically speaks to me in subtle ways where I have to be paying attention to hear. However, every so often, God hits me over the head with a very large 2x4 that's hard to miss. That's what happened to me on Sunday. It wasn't a message I hadn't heard before or some new revelation, but it was unavoidable that God was trying to get me to focus on something.
It started with Sunday's sermon in church where our pastor preached on the passage from Colossians 3:23 that talks about "whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." I've always tried to live by this verse and instill this idea in my kids that God gave us all certain talents and desires and that the reason they are passionate about certain things is because that's how God made them. I firmly believe that we are to work hard to develop those talents and pursue our passions and as long as we do it acknowledging God is the source, it is an act of worship and ultimately brings glory to Him. You see I believe we were not just created to endure this life and get prepared for some future heaven, but to have a fulfilling and enjoyable relationship with Him in this life and partake in His blessings here. Yes, there is great struggle here at times and it can be very hard work as we walk the path before us. But if we look at life as an opportunity to get to know the creator of the universe, we can find great joy and fulfillment in everything we do, whether that's preparing a meal for our family or negotiating peace between two warring nations. Everything we do matters.
After church I went to the gym and while I was working out I started thinking about how to better apply this philosophy in my coaching. This is an idea that's always permeated my coaching philosophy, but I often struggle with communicating in as clearly as I'd like. I've been looking for ways to teach my athletes to pursue excellence, but not just to bring glory and accolades to themselves, but for a greater purpose. I want them to think outside of themselves and to understand that even the way they play sports is important to God. Everything matters.
I thought I had gotten the message, then 2x4 number two hit me later that evening while watching the movie Soul Surfer. For those not familiar, it''s the true story of a young girl with a bright future in professional surfing whose arm was bitten off by a shark while training one morning. Instead of ending her career and destroying her dreams, it allowed her the platform to, as she says, "embrace more people with one arm than I ever could have with two." It was her faith in Christ that allowed her to not give up on her dreams, that I believe God gave her, but instead to pursue them with a higher purpose in mind. She is now a championship surfer, despite only having one arm, and provides encouragement to millions that are struggling with their own situations. Her journey was certainly not easy. In fact at her lowest point when she was about to give up, her eyes were opened when she looked beyond her circumstances and realized there were people struggling with more difficult situations than hers and that by her not quitting she could provide hope to others. Everything we do matters.
Then as if that wasn't enough, 2x4 number three hit me as we watched another movie, To Save a Life. This was a difficult movie to watch as it deals with teen suicide, cutting, teen pregnancy, abortion, divorce, teen drinking, etc. However, the movie really strikes home the impact we can make on others lives, both in a positive and negative manner. There are millions of hurting and lonely people out there just waiting for someone to show them they care about them; to show them God cares about them. How many "invisible" people do we ignore everyday? Jesus said, "as you have done unto the least of these, you have done to me." Again, everything we do matters.
Truthfully, it really wasn't until I was laying in bed that night that I put it all together and realized there seemed to be a theme to my day. (I know, I'm a little slow) It's not just one area of life that matters, it's every area. It's not just what we do on Sunday or even how we take care of our own family. In everything we do we should be committed and focused on honoring God, from the menial tasks to the more important ones. No, it doesn't earn us favor with God and our works certainly don't save us, but doesn't the God of the universe who willingly gave his life for us deserve to receive honor and glory. Isn't that what true communion with God is, acknowledging Him in the small details of life? This is how we grow closer to God and truly become who He intended us to become. And in that regard, everything matters.