I have been enjoying watching all the college football bowl games and now I am getting into the NFL playoffs. I just LOVE football! There is a common bond that seems to separate good teams from great teams - hunger. Good teams have the capability of winning at any time, but somehow lack what it takes to do it day-in and day-out. Great teams seem to always find a way - whether they play the perfect match, have to slug out a tough win, or find a way to come clawing back after trailing. They just seem to find a way to win. For many of them, it is because of a hunger for victory.
Great teams crave winning. It is like that food you love that you cannot get enough of. Champions seem to savor the victory and, yet, still crave more. For you chocolate-or coffee-lovers, you know exactly what I mean. You can have the best piece of chocolate or that perfect cup of coffee, and it leaves you satisfied for the moment, but it also creates a craving for more.
As a Pastor, part of my job is to teach people through Scripture to yearn for more in their relationship with Christ. However, in sports, some Christians struggle with the concept of “hunger” in competition, as if it is wrong to be seeking to win. I don’t see any problem with wanting to win. In fact, I see it as a great opportunity to teach athletes how to have that same hunger in their relationship with Christ as they do to win!
In Psalm 63:3-5, David expresses this hunger in a way that we all can understand: “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”
Just as great athletes have a hunger for victory, David’s hunger for God was insatiable. In verses 3-5, he expresses the depth of satisfaction he receives from walking with the Lord and it drove him to seek him more. Paul expressed the same hunger for Christ in Philippians 3. It drove him to not be satisfied with anything this world could offer him.
Each time Christ touches our lives with His presence, it should never cause us to sit back and stop pursuing Him. It should create a deeper hunger and thirst for the One who will wipe away every tear at the “Great Wedding Feast” at the end of times. God gives us glimpses of our future with Him to keep us longing for more. Let’s crave our wins on the court…and let’s hunger for more of Christ each day!
God Bless and GO CATS!
Rev. Scott Murphy is the Pastor at the First Christian Church in Russellville.