This year, I was assigned to be part of the Child and Youth Development Program of the No One In Need Movement. Meaning, we, as a team, should create and implement programs for the youth in the restoration and mission villages. At sakop nun yung mga kabataan na malayo sa syudad, yung mga kabataan na hindi masyadong masagana ang buhay, yung mga kabataan na maaaring marami ang hindi nakakapag aral at puro laro lang ang alam at yung mga kabataan na hindi masyadong nakakakilala kay Kristo. As we went to the sites, immersed and checked out ano yung mga pedeng activities or formations na pwedeng gawin para sa mga bata, basketball courts never fails to be present. Sobra akong na excite kung pano ko magagamit yung mga courts, ultimately, the game ‘Basketball’ para sa values formation ng mga kabataan doon. Ang daming pumasok na ideas sa utak ko on how can I fully integrate God, life values and basketball in the lives of the youth out there. Playing basketball and at the same time, learn life lessons as well.
More than thinking of these things, nahuli ko rin yung sarili ko na binabalikan kung gaano ko nga ba kamahal yung larong ‘to dati when I was very young up until today. Bumalik sa akin yung mga times tuwing kailan, saan at kung sino ang mga kasama kong maglaro. Naalala ko nung Elementary pa lang ako, I used to play Ball Relay everytime na magkakaroon kami ng Sports Fest. Ako yung last player sa likod kasi alam nilang mabilis ako at kaya kong habulin if ever nahuhuli man kami. Madalas namin dati tuwing pagkatapos ng klase, diretso kami ng mga klasmeyts ko nung High School sa half court malapit sa amin. Actually, located sya sa likod ng bahay namin. Minsan, ang matalo, manlilibre ng Ice Tubig or Softdrinks. Maraming bonding, relationships at brotherhood ang tumibay dahil sa paglalaro namin ng mga kabarkada ko nito. I had a chance also to play sa mga liga sa barangay namin up to the point na makasali ako sa mga inter-barangays. That time, I’m already a member of CFCYFL and it was an opportunity for me to invite my team mates to our youth camps. I remember also when I was a freshman student nung College ako, I think lunch break ata nun at tirik na tirik ang araw. Nagkayayaan ng shooting up until may mag invite sa amin maglaro. Ayun, pagpasok ko sa next class ko, para akong ‘basang sisiw’, para akong hindi college student dahil sa pagmamahal sa basketball. Haha. Nung high school ako, naging varsity ako. Nung college naman, I was part of our college department’s team. Up until now, I used to play basketball with my friends, workmates and co-missionaries. And I know in my heart, my love for this game will never fade.
For me, this is a gift from God. He really knows how to make me feel happy and satisfied. When there are times that I’m already tired from work and then all of a sudden, someone will invite me to play basketball, I will 100% surely play. For sure, God doesn’t just want me to enjoy and play around, He wants me to learn something from this gift. And indeed, this game taught me so many things about life in general, about my missionary life and about my relationship with Christ. 3 things I want to share to you:
1. God First. Basketball Second.
Glorify Him through playing. We know that the ultimate purpose of our lives is to glorify God in all that we do. So even in playing basketball, we have to make sure that we are glorifying Him. Let me share this line to you, “Sa lahat ng ginagawa mo, ultimo paglalaro ng basketball, siguraduhin mo na kapag ginawa mo ito, alam mong mas mapapalapit ka sa Diyos”. The way we play, the way we respond to our opponent and the way we work with our team mates should glorify God. As what they often say “the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” As creation, we are created to and commanded to glorify God in all things. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Despite knowing that we are called to glorify God in all things, there are always areas in our lives that we try to keep for our own glory, refusing to lift them up to God for His glory. There are other areas in where the application of 1 Corinthians 10:31 isn’t immediately obvious, but I think that it is our duty to think about how we can glorify God in basketball to consciously dedicate all aspects of our lives to him.
2. All Heart.
Play with all of my heart and never take a play off. Colossians 3:23,24 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” God calls us to do everything in life for the glory of God, not for men. I am to strive to be all that God created to be. We shouldn’t be lazy, slothful, or apathetic about the things we do in life, be it ministry or even basketball. There is tremendous freedom in knowing that when we play any sport, it’s to the glory of God, that we don’t play hard because we have something to prove or need to impress anyone, but because we want to use all of the gifts that God has given us to work up to our full potential. If we are that passionate and spirited in playing basketball, we should be that passionate and spirited as well in our own lives. Whether be it in our home, in our school, with our friends or in our community life.
3. Be that Jesus Christ’s Superstar!
Remember that you are still a Christian even when you are playing basketball. That is why, you never turn-off your missionary mode. Since before, my teammates are great teammates to me. They really show love and grace to me, especially when I screw up. Not all of these guys are Christian, but it doesn’t change the fact that they have modeled Christ’s love to me in specific ways. In the same way, we need to imitate Christ in all things, extending the same grace to other players when they make knuckle-headed decisions or when they miss open jumpers. Another thing is that, I don’t think Jesus is glorified by us being a dirty player. By no means does that mean we need to play soft or play any less aggressive, but I don’t think it is God-glorifying for us to intentionally try to agitate the players we play against. We should be a person that people enjoy playing both for and against. You are bringing Christ every time you play, always remember that!
Remember these three things and always bring your ‘A’ game!
Some words from J-Lin of Houston Rockets about playing for God and not the fame that he acquired 2 years ago:
“Everything…without Him I wouldn’t have a purpose in life. I just play for God. That’s what I need to focus on every day. I’m going to have good games; I’m going to have bad games,” Lin told the Houston Chronicle last year. “If I play for God, if I play hard and if I try to give Him the glory, I’m OK. I need to learn to be OK with whatever happens and trust it’s part of God’s perfect plan.”