Spring Into Action
With spring right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to reflect on some of our favorite athletes that we have interviewed over the years. From sharing our faith with others, to growing in our relationship with Christ, athletes like Bethany Hamilton, Christian Hosoi and Gabby Douglas each have unique perspectives on things that God has taught them throughout their lives. The Bible is filled with examples comparing the Christian faith to the discipline an athlete needs to win. While we might not be professional athletes, their lives inspire us to get up off the couch and get in the game!
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
Don’t just skate by! Professional skateboarder Christian Hosoi shares, “God doesn’t call us to stay where we are, he doesn’t leave us where we’re at once he saves us; he desires us to go further with him. I’m still growing, I’m still getting better and making better choices, I’m still falling more in love with the Lord everyday and that’s what a relationship should be like.”
Knock it out of the park! New York Yankee legend Bobby Richardson spent 12 years playing with Mickey Mantle. He invited Mickey to church on several occasions and had spiritual conversations no matter how tough they were. “I wanted to be bold in my witness, because I wanted him (Mickey Mantle) to spend eternity with me.”
Be a loyal teammate! Jason Hanson played 21 years in the NFL as a kicker. He tells us the importance of being a part of a team, “The biggest thing I learned from day one is to be ‘plugged in’ to the Word, with other believers and a church. If you isolate yourself and go on your own, it’s really hard to be encouraged and to not get discouraged, and then go off and make a lot of crazy decisions that seem right at the time.”
Stick the landing! Two-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast Gabrielle Douglas challenges us with the importance of sticking up for others, “If someone is being bullied I’d tell them to speak up. Tell an adult or a friend, and [even] if you feel like you’ve been defeated just keep going.”
Protect the goal! U.S. Soccer goalie Tim Howard talks about when he faces challenges, “My conversations with God have always been in the midst of all the ups and downs, to just keep me level. I’m not so concerned about being super high, but don’t let me get super low either. In fairness, God has answered those prayers. I have never had things too high where I lose myself, and God hasn’t allowed things to get so low that I can’t persevere through it.”
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” 1 Timothy 4:8-9
Don’t get knocked out! Even when we feel like throwing in the towel, two-time heavyweight champ and Olympic Silver Medalist boxer Chris Byrd encourages us, “First, choose God and then totally trust and believe God is able to take care of you in all situations. You have to have faith that God can do it. You have to remember that he’s your Lord; he’s your Father. He will take care of you.”
Hang ten! Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton shares about living her faith out on a daily basis, “To me, it’s not a religion. Just talking to God, reading His Word [Bible] and doing my best to honor Him in everything I do. It’s where I get my strength with something, I can go to Him for help. It’s something very special and I’m excited to share that.”
Don’t forget to stretch! L.A. Dodger and Gold Glove winner, Adrian Gonzalez says, “It’s not about having a great game on the field, it is how my relationship with Christ is after the game. It’s how I react to certain things…who I glorify and give credit to after the games. It completely changes your perspective.”
Run in such a way to win! San Diego Charger and Pro Bowler, Darrell Stuckey shares, “I am always a firm believe that God intended us to play with the mentality of not losing. It’s the same way Apostle Paul talks about it in the Bible that nobody runs a race just for the heck of it; they always run in a way to get the prize. That is the way I play.”
Practice makes perfect! Wire walker and Guiness Book of World Records holder, Nik Wallenda reflects on living out the faith, “It’s just practicing. Like for the wires, you practice, and you practice, and you practice; it’s the same with our faith in my opinion. There will be some doubts. I believe strongly in the Holy Spirit…the more you learn to listen, the more that you test, the more bold you are, the more relevant, and the more familiar you get with His voice, then the more in touch you get with the Holy Spirit’s voice.”
Get outside, enjoy God’s creation and use it to grow deeper in your relationship with Him. Make sure to check out our archives for more highlights from interviews with everyone from gold-medalist Gabby Douglas to New York Yankee Legend Bobby Richardson. Have a friend or teammate that could use some encouragement? Share one of these interviews with them! And don’t forget to share your inspirational stories with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.