by Joshua Welch

Zoe’s team won the President’s Cup in Indiana yesterday! They will go on to St. Louis to compete in the Midwest Regional in a couple weeks. While she played the Saturday game, she missed the championship game on Sunday.

We’ve been doing travel soccer for several years now and it is the first time her team has made it to the championship game in either State Cup or President’s Cup from the three different clubs where she’s played … and this is likely her last season of travel soccer.

So, with such a big game and rare opportunity on the line … why didn’t she play? Simply, some things are a higher priority than a game.

Worshipping the Lord in the assembly on the first day of the week is a higher priority than a game. Zoe’s part of another family besides a soccer team, the church. When Christ calls us together to remember Him on resurrection day (just one day out of seven in a week) that assembly is of higher  priority than a team assembly. Jesus is greater than the coach. So, she chose to be there.

Family is also a higher priority. Zoe’s brother graduated that afternoon. Sure, she could have rushed around, skipped church, and made it back in time to watch him walk. But, sometimes, you need to bench yourself for special moments to let others shine on their big day. Let them be in the spotlight for a once in a lifetime moment.

Balancing our priorities is difficult when schedules clash. We should be committed to whatever “family” we give our devotion but how do we hand those conflicts as they arise? Would you agree our priorities should be in this order?  1) God, 2) family, 3) work, 4) sport… If so, then why do we so often let coach and sport family become more important than God and spiritual family?

We all need to make decisions and there are many factors involved. I try to be merciful and gracious when those conflicts  arise (Lord knows I’ve not made perfect decisions as a parent) but we need to be truthful too. Truth is … when the Lord’s people on the Lord’s Day takes a backseat to coach on game day you are laying down a priority by your example regardless of what your mouth says. When sport or music family always trumps spiritual family and family family then your example is your priority.

I cannot tell you how thankful I was when my daughter and I talked this over and she made her decision. As I saw her singing hymns with other Christians on Sunday while her teammates were celebrating their victory she was a true champion in my eyes. As I saw her snapping pictures and cheering for her brother on graduation day, it just felt so good for us all to relish the moment together for the afternoon without her resentment.

I realize this makes us the weird ones in many people’s eyes (that’s called peer pressure) … but, as one who believed in God I think it’s time we remembered God’s view of me is the only one that really matters in the end. We move on from coaches. We retire from bosses. Friends and family will die. One day, we will stand before God. Why do we think He will honor us at death if we do not honor Him in life?

We love all the families we’re a part of … but, make no  mistake, “as for me and for my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

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