He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” - Luke 1:16-17

    Written by Joe Smith

    There is one thing in hockey that really confuses me. It’s the overblown, self-exalting celebration after a goal in which the player who scored did very little work. We have all seen the play where one player dangles through three guys and makes a sick back door dish to a wide open teammate for an open net bury. This is exciting stuff. The problem arises when the player who simply “tapped” the puck into a wide open goes bananas like he made everything happen. He fails to give credit where credit is due. Instead, he spends his time jumping into the glass or pumping his arm while sliding on a knee. Fortunately, this is not how things usually go, but it does happen. Instead of giving credit where credit is due with a nice finger point or something to that effect, players can get lost in their own glory.

    You may have heard of a guy named John the Baptist. John, who was born just before Jesus, had a very important task. His whole life would be about preparing the way for somebody greater than himself. Luke 1:17 says he was going to “make ready for the Lord a people prepared. Now, it would be quite a stretch to call John a rock star, but once he grew up he certainly had a very important job. He also had a small group of followers that hung on his every word. He would preach and baptize in front of many curious onlookers and I am sure it would have been easy for him to get a little puffed up by the crowds that were coming to see him. It would have been natural for him to hope Jesus would take his time in coming so he could remain in the spotlight a little longer. However, that wasn’t John. Not only did John welcome Jesus as soon as He was revealed, but he also urged his own followers to go after Jesus; to follow Him. John knew that Jesus was here to save the world and that Jesus deserved all the credit. So, John, very humbly, put an end to his fifteen minutes of fame and urged people to put their hope and trust in Jesus. John’s role was not to be the star. His role was to humbly obey God. Because of his obedience, he became great in the sight of the Lord.”(1:15)

    Putting others first is what we are called to do because that is a way to showcase God’s love to others. This requires a humble heart. It requires effort on our part and is never an easy task. Deep down we all want the glory. We all want people telling us how great we are. We all want to score the highlight reel goal or throw the jaw dropping hit, but sometimes the situation isn’t right or it may just not be your role. Like John we need to commit to our role wholeheartedly. By putting the team first, you will not only earn the respect of your teammates. God desires humble hearts within his teammates. So, if someone gives you a great pass tell them it was a great pass! Encourage your teammates when they do something selfless. Give God the glory for every good thing you do on the ice. If you’re on a team with players that have a “John the Baptist” state of mind…you’ll go a long way.

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