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BIBLE TEXT: Matthew 5:10-12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: For those that don’t know, I am a TSSAA official for high school football. I often get questions like “Does it take a special type of person to officiate?” or “You must have thick skin! or “Do you officiate for the love of the game?” The answer to all of these questions is: ”YES, AND PERSECUTION IS PART OF THE PACKAGE.” My reward is great just as the officials who were before me.
Officials must be:
Willing to be mocked
Willing to be called names and insulted
Willing to be yelled at or even physically assaulted
Willing to “re-train” the eye and “re-taught” the game of football through an official’s eyes.
Does this sound like something YOU’RE willing to do? Well, you have already signed up to do all this. I have some questions for you. Does it take a special type of person to follow Christ? Are you willing to be mocked, insulted, falsely accused, and do you serve simply for the love of Christ? Are you willing to “re-train” the eye and be “re-taught” the way of life through a Christian’s eyes?
PERSONAL APPLICATION: This is how I prepare myself for these battles:
Often the coaches and assistants will try and push my buttons, question me, test my authority as an official. In order for me to have the correct “actions or reactions” I must stay mentally prepared. I must have the rules in my heart. The best advice I have learned from a 35 year official was this: “Never stop studying and never stop learning.”
The world will push my buttons, question me, test my authority as a Christian, and in order for my actions or reactions to be handled correctly I must stay mentally prepared and I must have the rules in my heart. I love the passage in Joshua 1:8: “Do not let this book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so you may be careful to do everything written in it.”
PRAYER: Father, I humbly come to Your throne and kneel to You. I thank You so much for the things You have taught me through the game of football, and I ask that You never stop teaching me. When the TFL team is serving Your people we go through many of these things, but your Word has promised us many blessings. Father, as You know, we simply do it for our love toward You. Persecution is part of the package, but oh, it is worth it. I love You more every day, Father, and I challenge myself to never stop learning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“I’m just a guy.”