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Friday night. Boiled peanuts. Home field advantage. The Mary Persons Student section representing what we consider the best high school football program in the State of Georgia. The big lights. The Dancers. The Cheerleaders throwing gold footballs in the stands. The Mary Persons Bulldog Brigade putting on the greatest show on turf (I know, the grass is real; thanks Coach B.!). Finally, the Bulldogs take the field! Black and Gold represented in the stands. It’s time. The season is upon us once again. If you have been in this wonderful community for even a minute, you understand the life-blood of Monroe County beats through Dan Pitts Stadium on Friday nights! What a tradition! What a feeling!
All of us understand that moment of anticipation from the stands when our players are about to punch one in at the endzone on the hillside where all the future Bulldogs are playing. The clock is running. The moment arrives! Our running back catches that corner and…TOUCHDOWN MARY PERSONS!
It is at this point of the game where the real moment of truth happens. Our opponent’s players may get mad and swear and even shove our boys in anger. Other players may stay silent and talk themselves down as they beat themselves up. Others may stay positive and keep playing the game. These moments happen all of the time in sports, not just in football. Attitude is everything when you are in the spotlight. So, how can you glorify God as you play sports? Here are a couple of things our boys (and girls) need to think about before they hit the field and while they are on it.
To be good at something, practice is a must. The same way you practice your game should be the same way you pray and read your Bible. By the way, if you are a player without a Bible, I assure you that there is a preacher ready to give one out! God is the one who has blessed each of you and those players with a talent for sports. Before you commit to that field, commit your heart and mind to God. Take some time to pray to God for a humble spirit that won’t criticize other players or allow you to say things that make you look bad. You will completely hurt your ability to be representative of Christ if these are regular habits. When you commit to God, you can fight off that sin that wants to devour your heart.
God deserves credit for your actions as well. Find a way to give God the glory when you score or do something awesome for your team. Many athletes point to the sky when they do something to bring attention to a great play or action. This is usually to show that they placed their faith in God and to acknowledge Him with thanks. Psalm 86: 12 says, I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
I have seen players write Bible verses on their taped wrists and hands as a way to show their faith. The point is that there is always time to give God the glory; so be intentional about praising God while playing the game. He was intentional about raising your name up while He was on the cross. It is the least you could do. You should find any way you can to show others that your faith in God is real.
Go Mary Persons! Have a great season! Think about all those older Bulldogs and younger, future Bulldogs that you inspire every Friday night in the House that Dan Pitts built! Think about what you may be able to do with your actions that may change their lives. Represent your creator and Savior, Jesus Christ well. He has never left you or forsaken you. And there is no doubt, if you are His, He will represent you in the Father’s House! GO DOGS!
Rev. Jeff Dean is the senior pastor of Sanctuary Baptist Church, 12643 Highway 87, Forsyth. The Pastor’s Corner is sponsored by the Monroe County Ministerial Association, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 417 N. Frontage Road, Forsyth.
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