Psalm 103:15-16 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
Could you picture sports without time? Imagine track & field runners who might be able to run for the win, but they have no idea how fast they ran. Did I beat my personal record? Did I beat the world record? How about a basketball game without a shot clock or without a game clock? The excitement of the “buzzer beater” shot would be gone. Think about all the sports where time is critical and now imagine them without the game clock. To almost all sports, time is a critical component.
The Bible is filled with scriptures and passages that talk about time. Most of them ultimately share the same message – your time is limited and it’s moving quickly. Today’s verses from Psalm 103 compare our lives to grass which springs up, flourishes and then is gone. While this may seem like a morbid message, especially to a young athlete who sees their whole life ahead of them, clearly this is an important message that God wants to communicate to His children.
Understanding the scarcity and fleeting nature of time may not be a great epiphany, but an understanding of what to do with our time is critical. The world’s wisdom includes: carpe diem (Latin for “cease the day”). Charles Darwin said: “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” While there is significant truth to the above, where is the eternal value? If you achieve every last athletic goal you have ever set for yourself, what have you actually achieved?
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church he writes: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5: 15-17). Paul understood the fleeting nature of time; he understood that we have to seize every day, and that we have to use every hour wisely. However, what differentiated Paul from the secular world is that he also understood that it was all about doing God’s will and not simply fulfilling his personal goals and dreams.
God’s will in your life may include the things you are passionate about, including sports, but do not be deceived, in of themselves God places no great value in them; they are merely a means to an end – perhaps to bring you the joy and balance you need in your life, and most certainly to honor God. Jesus shared God’s will for the disciples in the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20), and as believers we all have this same commission, to reach the lost and to teach them up in the faith. You might say, “but I really am not an evangelist; I am no teacher”. This may be true, but I guarantee you that God has given you spiritual gifts that he wants you to use to advance his kingdom here on earth. “If it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12: 7-8). Search out the will of God in your life, use the spiritual gifts given to you, and one day when the grass wilts and you stand before Jesus, look forward to hearing “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).