There is not a parent alive who has ever watched their son or daughter step onto the field or court and not begin to pray that they would win. Some kindhearted parents will say they prayed that their child would do their best. But let’s be honest, even they want their child to win. The truth is we want our children to be winners.
I don’t believe that is anything to be ashamed of. I want my kids to win when they play sports. Of course, I expect them to practice good sportsmanship whether they win or lose and I value the character gained from losing and playing again. But I pray for them to win.
And I pay as well. I pay for batting cages, lessons, equipment, travel teams, and booster club fundraisers. I do so willingly and hope that my investment will pay back with several checks in the “w” column. I also pay with time spent at practices, backyard drills, etc. Can you relate? I bet you can because I see what other parents do to make their kids winners and I know I’m not alone.
And it isn’t just sports that we want to see them win. It’s everything from academics, arts, hobbies – anything and everything. We want our sons and daughters to be winners and we train, pay, and pray to make them such.
But what about winners of souls?
The Lord floored me with that thought recently. Am I training, paying, and praying for my kids to be winners of souls? Is that even on my radar screen? I spend time and money working with them and praying for them so they can acheive a trophy that will collect dust. And then I read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
The crown Paul is seeking is souls. Saving souls is what he’s after. People are what he is trying to win. To the Christians in Thessalonica he writes,, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19). And to the Church in Phillipi, he calls the people he has won to Christ his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1).
To Timothy, who Paul considered “my true son in the the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2) he writes, “I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season” and “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:2,5). Paul was training and praying for Timothy to be a winner of souls and obtain a crown that won’t perish, spoil, or fade.
I’m afraid I have been majoring in the minors. But that is changing. I am now praying each day for my kids to be mighty winners of souls for the Kingdom. I’ll still pray for them during their games and such, but I will also be praying for the Lord to use them to win souls for Him. I will encourage them to be prepared in season and out of season to share the hope they have in Jesus. I will show them how to pray for their lost friends and I will train them how to lead a friend to faith in Jesus. Of course, this means I’m going to have to get in better shape as well. Game on.
I love my kids and I want them to be winners and receive a crown that will last for all eternity. Above all else, I want them to be winners of souls.