Paul has been a three year player on our Bethany Christian tennis team. His freshman year, I still remember what a joy he was to have on the team. He often wore shirts with wild pictures of wild animals on them to school, and the team loved Paul so much that they wanted to welcome him. So they decided to go to Walmart and see if there were any bear shirts in the same style that Paul often wore. All the varsity purchased them, and they became our team warmup for the year.
What sticks with me about that story is how much the whole team has always loved Paul. Paul has the gift of true friendship. He welcomes and encourages his teammates, which gives hope to the team. But he also has the gift of sincerity. He is always trying to give his best to our activities. This year, I’ve been encouraging people to think about how to play their best tennis, and Paul is the first to tell me what he needs to work on. And this summer at tennis camp, I led a devotional time dedicated to growing in our faith. Paul was the first to approach me afterward with questions of how he could grow. This sincerity, trust and earnestness inspires me and others on the team.
Having him back for this season has been awesome. He’s been a mentor to younger players, a hard worker in practice, and a light of encouragement for everyone. God has certainly blessed him with beautiful gifts, and Paul is using them to brighten this world. I pray that Paul will continue to live with sincerity in his walk with Jesus, trusting God and drawing others toward God’s light.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.