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A Tale of Two Athletes

Dear Friend,

It's been an interesting week. Since last Monday we've seen two headlines that are related only in the fact that they both involve sports. Otherwise, they could not be more opposed. In the first story we have Jason Collins, a man known as a professional basketball player, but only by die-hard fans since he did not play very often. One week ago, though, his entire life changed when he outed himself as a practicing homosexual, the first active athlete in major American sports to do so. The response from the media and basketball fans was overwhelmingly positive, as his "courage" and "boldness" were praised and endorsement offers and guarantees of a job for next season were made. The few who respectfully disagreed in public comments were declared intolerant, hateful, or bigoted.

In the other story we have a Texas high school track and field athlete named Derrick Hayes. Hayes' entire relay team was disqualified from a track meet after he pointed heavenward in a gesture to thank God after finishing a race. The gesture was deemed to be "excessive celebration" and the state upheld the decision to disqualify the team. Note that this was in Texas and not one of those states like California or Massachusetts where we're accustomed to hearing such stories from the schools.

These two headlines couldn't be more telling. We've known our culture is heading in the wrong direction for years, and signs like these have been developing for a while now. But to have the two stories juxtaposed against each other like they were in such a brief span of time last week really puts the situation into perspective. What we can take from this is that persecution is coming. Is the shouting down of biblical perspectives or the banning of faith gestures persecution? No, not really. However, both are signs of what is to come. Soon enough, those who preach out about the sin of homosexuality will be imprisoned. Proud displays of faith in God will be banned and punishable by law. We can know that this is the case because A - history tells us that it is the natural progression of society to turn from God once they feel satisfied with themselves and B - it's currently happening in other places around the world.

My question to you - will you be ready? Will your family? Consider your children - are they being trained to obey God rather than men? Will they be willing to preach God's Word boldly or will they conform to a culture that says He's not allowed? The answers to those questions can be found in the decisions we make today. Our words and actions make it perfectly clear to those who look up to our examples just how important God is and how seriously we take His Word. As for now, it's still easy, but if we're faithful in the little things (like walking in the footsteps of Jesus each and every day while it's not punishable by law), we'll be faithful in the big things. "Choose for yourselves this day..."

Serving Him with you,

Brad Harrub

Focus Press, Inc.