Why you don’t play – Daniel J. Koren's

Why you don’t play

Posted by danieljkoren on March 21, 2019 in Devotional |

After what I wrote about last week, I got to thinking. I know why you don’t play football.

You don’t want to hurt.

Since I last wrote, I got to talking to a couple guys and both told me they were good at playing football in high school but got hurt and never got to play for anything beyond that. Yep, football is rough on the body. I guess all the bad backs, ankles, and knees were worth the coolness factor for high-school guys to show off in front of the cheerleaders. That doesn’t surprise me.

What surprises me is how many people are willing to be damaged for a football in contrast the numbers of Christians who do not want to be hurt for Jesus. That is why they don’t get in the game. They’d rather eat pork rinds than catch the pigskin. They would rather cheer for the preacher than visit the person who has not been in church for two weeks. They’d rather be safe than useful.

I’m not going to lie and say, “Don’t worry about getting hurt, we’ll just play two-hand-touch.” (If you are not familiar with American football, in the backyard version, players often only tag with two hands rather than actually tackle someone. This method mostly prevents injuries.) This is God’s Kingdom and the opposing team wants us dead. It is a full-contact sport.

Now, we are not to hurt other humans. We are to love all people. The opponent we crush is the powers and forces in the dark, unseen realm. Yes, every believer is a player, a soldier on the battlefield. We even have helmets and gear provided (Ephesians 6:12-17). But…

Pain is the process

Since few people get involved and many who do start serving the Lord get hurt, I wanted to take a moment and clarify. You are going to get hurt. I just didn’t want any mistaken expectations here. Your sciatica might be damaged. You will tear a ligament, twist an ankle, or blow out a knee. You are supposed to.

You know why you will be hurt? Because that is the nature of this heavenly game we are playing. The only “player” to “go pro” was Jesus Christ. The “game” killed Him. We fulfill the uncompleted sufferings of Christ (Colossians 1:24).

If the Greatest Of All Time got shredded, you cannot expect to win at this without sustaining some collateral damage, too. But the glory of the prize is better than the damages of the process.

We enter God’s Kingdom by injury. New believers used to be taught that through many afflictions, pains, trials we enter the Kingdom (Acts 14:22). Now, they are told Jesus will give them a new car and a second home. When reality hits, they are unprepared.

Play offense without being offended

All of us are drafted. He picks His team—no volunteers allowed. Part of the contract is that we must get hurt. I don’t know why no one sees that part of the playbook, but we shouldn’t be shocked.

There are plenty of ways to get hurt.

  • False players who try to take you down
  • Outright attacks
  • Stumbling blocks
  • Teaming up against you
  • Illegal maneuvers

Sometimes it will be so intense you want to give up on life (II Corinthians 1:5-8). It won’t always be physical, but sometimes spiritual battles—which are even harder to understand or explain to others.

Perhaps this is why Jesus let disciples know early on that there was tough stuff ahead. When He invited the disciples to fish for people, they did not think this meant sunny weekends on the lake with a cool breeze and a line in the water. To them, fishing was hard work—it was a team effort. It meant risky situations when trapped in a storm out on the lake at times. It meant sore backs and blistered hands.

You will put your energy into something. Every adult goes through tough stuff. Why not for the Kingdom? You will sign up for some team. Why not for one that lasts forever?

Yes, the people in the bleachers can shout “We won” with the team on the field, but only the ones on the green get the green (paycheck). Do you want an eternal reward? Get in the game. Want to lay up treasures in heaven? Seek first the Kingdom.

The woman at the well turned and brought people to the Messiah immediately. She got on the team quickly. What about you? Are you going to put some points on the board? Making disciples is what you were made for. The hurts that come with it are worth it.

Training has begun. The Coach has called you, “Follow Me!” Ready to go “all in” on this journey?

“Set! 238, hut, hut, hike!”

What hurts have you endured? What position do you play, so to speak, in the Kingdom?


  • Kim Colburn says:

    Yes! This is true! I know many who have amazing talents including my own husband who keep from doing all they could be doing for the sake of getting hurt. I have actually heard that come out of their mouth. It’s hard yes and also sad because they could be in a place by now that would only come from all the times they said no! Or hesitated to do what God asked. I will admit it is easy to just stay home and sit yes. I am a mom who doesn’t work and let me tell you what to much sitting does and not enough get out there! It fills me with depression and I will sit and wonder why hasn’t God given me something to do and ya know what? He has the minute He allowed me to wake up! So I am not saying I am perfect cause I face this too. But We as believers need to ask ourselves, are we willing? Didn’t Jesus die for us? Did he hesitate? Did he not suffer? He said take is your cross and follow me!

  • Kim Colburn says:

    Take up your cross

  • Tracy says:


  • David says:

    I have had many experiences in ministry…..some great, others not so much. I try to take it as part of the “game” but it is not easy when those that you trust and serve are the ones that do the hurting. Unfortunately in my experience it seems that this is widespread within the church and across organizations.
    There are far too many in leadership that are self-promoters, users, etc that only want what is best for them and not for the rest. They are “my kingdom” minded and not “His Kingdom ” minded which makes for a rough game when you are trying to work with them or for them.
    I have tried to learn from every experience. From some I have learned how to do things, and from many I have learned how not to do things. It is a process, fraught with peril to be sure, but I have learned through it all, that He will never injure me, or kick me when I am down. I can depend on Him no matter the score of the game: whether I see myself as winning or losing at the moment….He is always on my side. I can know this one thing….in the end…I win as long as I stick with Him who holds my tomorrows.

  • Rebecca says:

    Thank you for this article. It wasn’t until about 8 or 9 years ago that I finally got the concept you are writing about. I use to hold on to hurts and own them until I read “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere. The book totally changed my thinking. I’ve heard several sermons on offense and realized being hurt in the church is actually beneficial because it allows God to work with us and shave off the rough spots in our lives. I have also realized I’ve been hurt at work and offended by family and friends, I just can’t seem to do life without offense and guess what? I have also offended people. I don’t think we can do life without being hurt but for some reason church people are held to a higher standard because we should know better. I don’t think most people hurt others on purpose and many don’t know they are doing it. Jesus said we are to take up our Cross and follow Him and that includes offense. I have a friend that taught me to pray for rhinosaurus skin so that hurt rolls off our backs. Juat like football, we have to work through offense and carry the ball to the other side. Our reward is on the other side. I would rather hold on toJesus and to people than a hurt any day.

  • jean says:

    Very thought provoking.Could the reason why more do not get involved in soul winning and ministering to others be lack of teaching?. So many sermons on prosperity but sadly lacking on how difficult life can be when we take up our cross to follow Jesus. When you are promised natural riches and a problem free life and it doesn’t happen, it creates a let down.My heart is grieved when people suffer on the pews and we don’t ever hear teaching on giving to the widows, fatherless, and destitute. Life can get hard for the most dedicated saints and we need each other. Can we win the world,if we can not bear one another’s burdens? How many souls will slip out into eternity while we wait for them to come to us. God help us to take up our cross and follow him.

    • danieljkoren says:

      I would agree that a lot of preaching today is spiritual abuse. Many abuse the Bible to make it say things it should not. They abuse their listeners by making them believe things they should not.

  • Hayden Mary says:

    I agree and it’s going to be worth it all some beautiful happy day. Even though we get hurt we must still keep loving people and minister to them.

    • danieljkoren says:

      Bruises will happen no matter what we attempt in life. We might as well let them be bruises made while serving others!

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