A Story of Love and Hope

Someone posted this recently on a forum that I frequent and I wanted to put it here as well. The story is titled There are some games where cheering for the other side feels better than winning. Here is a portion of it, but I encourage you to read all of it.

This all started when Faith’s head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. “Here’s the message I want you to send:” Hogan wrote. “You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth.”

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan’s office and asked, “Coach, why are we doing this?”

And Hogan said, “Imagine if you didn’t have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you.”

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

I love reading stories like this, because it is a sign to me that there are Christ-followers out there that are doing some of those simple things that spread the love of Christ. It is also a great story to read on the eve of the day when we celebrate the great sacrifice that Jesus made by coming to earth to take on human form. It was the choice that not only changed the course of history but also permanently altered Christ’s life.

To me the act that Jesus did, that is celebrated on Christmas Day, is greater than what we celebrate on Easter Day. Don’t get me wrong, Christ’s death, burial and resurrection was an amazing act. However, I see his act of taking on human form to identify with us in the most personal of ways was the beginning of it all and that is why I think it is much greater. Jesus chose not just to die for us but to identify with us for all eternity. Philippians 2:5-7

In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

This group of football players in the story did exactly that. I hope that this story encourages you this Christmas season to be Christ to those you encounter.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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