June 27, 2019
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My friend Ted was a high school football player - actually he was the starting center. But the game he remembers most is the one he didn't play in. All season, the second string center, Billy, hadn't played much. Well, actually he hadn't played very well. Until the day that Billy came to the coach and said, "Coach, I know you haven't felt I was good enough to start all season, but I want to ask you to start me this one game. Please. It means a lot, and I'm just asking for a chance." The coach agreed and Billy amazed not only his coach, but his teammates and his hometown fans. He played incredible game. No one had ever seen anything close to this kind of performance or ability from him. Needless to say, immediately after the game, the coach said, "Billy, what in the world happened? I didn't know you had it in you!" Billy's explanation was something the coach and my friend would never forget. He said, "My dad died last night, Coach. And he was blind, but not now. Tonight was the first time my father could see me play!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The One You're Playing For."
For one high school football player, it made all the difference knowing his father was watching him play. For every one of us who claims to belong to Jesus, that's what should determine how we play our position, too, knowing that our Father is watching us play.
Jesus lived with that always in His mind. He said in John 8:29, "The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him." And then in our word for today from the Word of God, Paul lays out for us the ultimate reason we should do everything we do with all our heart. In Colossians 3:23-24, he says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
The Bible says you and I should have only one way we do everything we do - with all our heart. When you work, you work with all your heart. When you pray, you pray with all your heart. When you're listening to someone, you listen with all your heart. When you're studying, right, you study with all your heart. When you play, you play with all your heart. When you're with someone, be with them with all your heart. In the words of missionary martyr Jim Elliott, "Everywhere you are, be all there!"
Why? Because your Heavenly Father who made you and who paid for you with the life of His Son, is watching you. Don't play for the crowds. Don't play for yourself. Play for the one person in the stands who matters most - your Heavenly Father. He's the reason you do what's right. You don't want to hurt Him. He's the reason you knock yourself out. Your Father's the reason you stay away from what's wrong. It's not the rules you're breaking, it's your Father's heart. And when no one else seems worth playing for anymore, remember you're doing it for the one who's always worth doing it for!
It really simplifies your life and it reduces a lot of stress when you decide who you're going to please and whose approval you're going to live for. If you try to live for the boss's approval, and for the approval of the people you're with at this time, or for society's approval, or for the church's approval - well, you're going to be a chameleon, constantly having to change colors based on the environment you're in. But you can be one person all the time if you decide there's only one person you're playing for - one person you have to please. "I am playing with everything I've got because my Father - the One who loves me most - is watching me, and I'm going to make my Father proud!"