What is your reason to join and play on the tennis team? Actually think and answer this question before you move on down the article . . .
I play tennis because ___________________________ .
There are many good reasons to play. Getting some physical exercise. Taking up and learning a lifelong sport. Wanting to compete. A desire for success. Loving the camaraderie of a team. The sheer and savage delight in swinging at a moving target :-) But none of these reasons are really what I want our team of brothers to be about. Because I believe that everything in life should be about one thing.
Let's look at it from the Bible. Our team's theme passage for the season comes from the book of Philippians. It is Philippians 4:4-9. Read it below . . .
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.And the God of peace will be with you.
The book of Philippians is all about joy. Paul wrote the letter to express his gratitude and joy for the church in the town of Philippi, the community that was supporting him while he was under house arrest in Rome. Early in the book, Paul reveals the thought around which his whole life reveals and then reconfirms it with a word early in our theme passage.
The Word: Kyrios
Our word today comes from Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Kyrios is the source of joy. Kyrios is the Greek word for the Lord. When Paul begins this passage with an invitation to joy, he places the source of that joy completely in the Lord. That's where the worldview of all Biblical writers begins. "In the beginning, God..." is how the Biblical story begins, and it is where our story must begin and continue to revolve as well.
Paul says it a different way earlier in this book of Philippians. In verse 1:21 he writes, "For me, to live is Christ . . ." Life is all about Christ. It revolves around Jesus. That's what we're coming back to when we read "Rejoice in the Lord always." Life is about Jesus. Joy comes from that.
So every single thing we do in life should have a singular purpose. And that purpose is Christ.
Let's put it in a practical way. Each thing that we do in life should somehow reveal Christ. In other words, our actions and activities should put on display what Christ is like. They should show the self-sacrificial love and healing of Jesus' life and God's Kingdom.
The people of Philippi fleshed this out in a very wonderful way. They revealed what Christ was like by using the gifts God had given them in service to their community. As Paul was a crucial part of their community, the church at Philippi rallied around him during his house arrest in Rome. They sent words of encouragement. They sent him food out of their abundance. They sent people to come and visit him. Because the nature of Jesus is to give, the people of Philippi gave.
And so, to make this all simple, we'll break it down.
- Kyrios (the Lord) is good and giving.
- Our lives are best lived by stating "to live is Kyrios" (the Lord).
- We live for Kyrios (the Lord) by simply using the good God has given us within the community God has given us.
So, what's that mean for tennis?
This Bethany Christian tennis team is simply the community that the Lord has provided for you this year. We are a group of brothers coming together around Kyrios in "sheer and savage joy." That's our group purpose. That's where we are headed. If you want to join in, just join in by contributing the gift that Kyrios has given you.
If you feel someone needs encouragement - what a gift of insight you've been given! Encourage them, and you'll be rejoicing in the Lord!
If you feel you can lend some teaching - what a gift of insight you've been given! Teach, and you'll be rejoicing in the Lord!
If you feel the team needs challenged, or needs a leader to step forward, or needs to be better organized and focused - what a gift of insight you've been given! Challenge, lead, organize, and you'll be rejoicing in the Lord!
Live out of the gifts of God. Rest in the fact that Kyrios is good. Rejoice in Kyrios always! This tennis is our good Lord's team. The world is our good Lord's world. Rejoice!
The Song: "This is My Father's World" by Wilder Adkins