As children, we remember our experience we had with teammates on our youth sports’ teams. However, in some instances, our teammate turned out to be our best friend. Your best friend is a person who sticks with you no matter the circumstances, even if you make the last out or drop the game winning touchdown pass. You may get mad at them at first, but ultimately, you still stand by them in the roughest times.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to do the same thing for our friends. Paul encourages the people in Phillippi to join with him and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14). Ultimately, we want to be the best of friends on Earth. However, we have to realize that the goal as Christians on this Earth is to have a personal connection with Christ and to be on the same team that leads to us one day being with our Father in Heaven.
Sometimes, people might go against your friendship. Just take a look at the great King David. When Saul realized that David was going to be the next King of Israel, he tried to kill him with any chance he got. However, it was Saul’s son Jonathan who kept him out of harm’s way. Saul was always enraged at Jonathan, but the two friends formed a covenant that would never be broken. As the two friends departed, Jonathan tells David that “The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.” (1 Samuel 20:42)
You may be asking why I am writing this article when it is not like the other ones. Well, this article is for my friend Jonathan Proce. Jonathan passed away last Sunday after a drowning accident and I was able to attend the funeral yesterday. He was a great brother in Christ who encouraged me to walk down the straight paths the Lord has set before me. He was even my teammate during games of pool at Friday night Bible Study. He always had a way of making you feel happy and upbeat no matter what the situation.
The one thing he helped me to do that I will always be grateful for is to start up this very blog to bring people to Christ through sports. During the service yesterday, the pastor at the church talked about Jonathan asking him how he could share Christ in the Air Force which is where he would have gone in the coming months. He told him to be the best you can be. Even though I never thought blogging about sports could be a way to share the message of Christ, Jonathan’s life showed me exactly how to do that. With that message, I hope I can be the best I can be to give God the glory He deserves.
I want to thank all the people who gave me condolences throughout the week whether it be my 600+ followers on Twitter, my friends on Facebook, or my fellow writing colleagues. You guys are great people and a blessing to hear from each and every day. I know now that Jonathan is up with the Lord smiling down on me and I know I will see him again someday. He fought the race and now he has finished it and has everlasting life.
So, today, I exhort you to share the love of Christ with a friend who maybe has not heard the Gospel or has not given his life to our Almighty Father. Even when the times may seem rough, just know you have Jesus on your side who will always be a good friend. It is just like when He told his disciples before leaving for heaven. “I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)
I end this article with one of Jonathan’s favorite verses that tell us that we will always have Jesus as our loyal teammate. “For I am sure neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)