Playing through the Pain: A Letter to West Franklin

Playing through the Pain: A Letter to West Franklin November 6, 2021
West Franklin Family,
What’s that one thing God has designed you for that you would do, regardless? What is that thing He has made you for, where you most feel His presence? What is it that you would do no matter what?
As you well know, I love sports. Especially this time of year. College football. Playoff baseball (Go Braves!). College Football. Professional Football. And, of course, college football. This week there were three – THREE! – instances where an athlete kept playing through significant pain. First, Atlanta Braves pitcher Charlie Morton fractured his right fibula during the second inning of the first game of the World Series. He pitched three strikeouts AFTER the fracture, before the manager pulled him. Second, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral left the game (and the field) against Auburn in the first half after injuring his ankle. By all appearances, he would not return for the game – if not the season. He re-entered the game several minutes later, playing through the pain. Third, Arizona Cardinals star DeAndre Hopkins was left off the roster in last Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. He had a serious hamstring injury preventing him from practicing that week. Without permission, he tried to check himself into the game so he could play! According to Cardinals’ coach Kliff Kingsbury, Hopkins would “just run on. . . He wants to play, super competitive. . . we just want him to be smart, but he was definitely hurting.”
Think about that. For two of them (Morton and Hopkins), money is not an issue. They did not stay and play through the pain in order to get paid. I don’t know what they make, but we all can assume they are fairly stable financially. As for Matt Corral, his chances of playing at the next level could have been seriously jeopardized. All three athletes could have called it in and stayed on the sidelines. No one would have blamed them. But they could not NOT play. Morton got three more outs. Corral earnestly tried to will his team to victory. (Thankfully, his team lost. . . but still.) Hopkins eager to make plays. Why? Because it is who they are. It’s what they do. They were designed to compete and win. They love the game they play. We can assume they believe they were made for their sport of choice.
What about you? Paul said the Father created us for good works. He also said he prepared us for them beforehand. In other words, we are made to join Him in what He is doing in and around us. Paul also said of himself that he would rather be cursed than not preach the Gospel. What has God called you to, created you for, ignited in you? What is it you would do through the pain? What is it you would suffer through to enjoy the presence of God? What is it you would do no matter what? I remember watching an interview with Larry Bird years ago where he said, “If I had a healthy back, I would play for free.” What is it you would do – called and equipped and burdened by and made for by God – for free? Seriously. What is it?
If you are a follower of Jesus, you have been given His Holy Spirit. His Spirit, dwelling in you, has gifted you and made you to join Him in what He is doing in the world. It is something you would do no matter what. What is that for you?
  • Helping children understand the stories of the Bible?
  • Sharing the Gospel with Hispanics?
  • Wanting your coworkers to understand the majesty and grace of Jesus?
  • Helping teenagers know their identity in Christ?
  • Leading a congregation in worship through song?
  • Equipping a small group of peers to be on mission?
  • Educating parents on how to parent their children to love Jesus?
  • Starting a new Bible study in your neighborhood?
  • Preaching the Bible to a congregation?
  • Going to the most difficult place on earth so others can know the Gospel?
  • Teaching couples how to have a solid, Christ-centered marriage?
  • Writing devotionals in a way the average reader can understand?
  • Administrating a group of leaders?
  • Compassionately helping those in grief to navigate their pain?
  • Providing shelter for those having trouble getting back on their feet?
  • Ensuring senior adults continue to grow in intimacy with Jesus?
  • Navigating technology so people can see, feel, hear, and experience the Gospel?
The list is literally endless. Morton pitched through a fractured tibula. Corral played through a significant ankle injury. Hopkins snuck into the game without his coach’s knowledge or permission. They did it for football and/or baseball. We have the Gospel. What about you? What is the Spirit of God in you compelling you to? What would you do with and for Him no matter what? Seriously. What? Don’t stop until you know what it is.
Because Jesus is Worth Everything,
Pastor Matt
My Bible will be open to Philippians 4:8-9 in the morning. I cannot wait to see you at 9 or 10:30 am in the fellowship hall.

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