Faith and Sports and Life – by Eric Jensen
As we move into the new year I wanted to posit a question: why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Especially as people of faith and being of the mind that Jesus already loves us for who we are, what is the driving force behind these goals we set that very few of us ever keep? Obviously, we all want to improve ourselves (and there is nothing wrong with that of course) but what drives us to set these goals?
Especially because of what we learn from the Bible and specifically Jesus’s journey. As I see it, Jesus didn’t have a plan. He didn’t know what his purpose was until the very end. In fact in a lot of the gospels his interactions with God are very much there to determine his purpose. So why do we feel we need to set goals when in the end we can do very little to control whatever it is we want to call the power (fate, destiny, or Gods plan for us) that drives the universe?
Would Jesus have set New Year’s resolutions? I kind of doubt it. If he did he certainly wouldn’t have set them for himself. I think he would have set them for his followers, for humanity. Maybe we could take a hint from Jesus and start making our New Year’s resolutions less personal and more all-inclusive. No what does this have to do with sports??
The NFL regular season is over and with it have come five different head coach firings. In hiring their next head coaches these teams will set goals of their own for what they want these men to accomplish. The system is built on goals. Everything in our society it seems is built on goals. Is that really what Jesus would have wanted for us as Christians though? I think not. As I said, I don’t think Jesus had goals. He just did what he believed was right. He didn’t seem to have much guidance during his time on earth; at least not that I see in the gospels. Outside of his one or two meetings with God, I don’t get the sense that he was constantly mentored by his father. Even at the end in the Garden of Gethsemane, I get the sense that Jesus doesn’t really know what is going on.
He prays to God and says something along the lines of, “Hey man is there any other way we can do this? If this is the only way I’ll do it but it probably means I’m going to die.” Even in his case, “The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus knows he is going to die at this point and accepts the betrayal of Judas, but you just get the sense he didn’t quite expect it at first. There was no plan.
So why are we and so many NFL teams dead set on sticking to one? If we lived life as Jesus did it would be total chaos. Humans need structure. Yet it is comforting to know, that when the plan goes awry, Jesus is right there with us.