As we come to the close of another action-packed season, some wish the season would never end. Some are thankful their bodies held up long enough to play another season of soccer with their friends. Some are looking forward to a break from the action to enjoy more time with family and to get some much needed rest.
You’ve been exposed to a game that brings out the best and worst in us. Moments of celebrating, moments of embarrassment, moments of succeeding and moments of failing. Winning or losing together as a team. New players and teams and families were exposed to playing a competitive game for a different purpose. New friendships were formed and old friendships were strengthened. Maybe even a few relationships were challenged along the way. But through it all, just as iron sharpens iron, so we have been strengthened by rubbing shoulders with one another.
You’ve been exposed to another season of “soccer talks” where we take a short break from the action and bridge into conversations about sports, life, family, and faith. Seeds of truth, life and faith have been planted in the soil of your lives. I got to plant some seeds, others have watered them, but it is God who causes all things to grow.
Like anything else in life, what you feed grows, and what you starve dies. The more attention you give to your spiritual life, the more it will grow. Ignoring or neglecting what God wants to do in and through your life will only lead to more problems. There’s plenty of people around you who can help you on your faith journey, but you have to let those people into your life.
The most helpful practice in developing a spiritual life is getting an easy-to understand Bible and spending some time reading and reflecting each day. When I was growing up, I hated to read the Bible because I couldn’t focus, and my Bible was written in a formal language I could not understand as a kid. Everything has changed now. Modern translations are written for even children to understand. And the Bible teaches us that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of God. Sitting down with a cup of coffee and your favorite translation of the Bible will lead you to have more questions than you will know what to do with. But by spending some time each day with God and by exploring God’s Word, you will engage in a journey of discovery that will never end. It will change your life–how you think and how you live.
I also want to encourage you to look around at all the people God has surrounded you with. People who love this game and people who also struggle like you and I do. I pray that your relationships will move from the playing field into your homes and places where you do life. Don’t wait for the next soccer season to begin. Take the initiative get together in the off season. Cultivate some friendships that span the generations and become life-long. Some of my favorite friendships have been with our players, coaches, refs, and sponsors over the years. In fact, we would not be playing here today if it wasn’t for all the time we have spent together on and off the soccer fields.
Making time to cultivate healthy relationships with God, family, and friends will make your life more rich. You will find hope and support through the good times and bad times. And you will begin to realize that God is our ever-present help in times of trouble. You won’t understand all the mysteries of life, but your curiosity and faith will grow the more you exercise it with those around you. Thanks for another great season and for making time to enjoy this season together.