Why do so many of us enjoy the games? We love sports and the contest. We devour the excitement we see in the arena and, even beyond, into the crowd. The roar of the spectators is deafening; the anticipation is so heavy, it can nearly be touched.
The individuals in the arena cannot hide. On the contrary, they can only be seen- in many cases by millions. The pressure they feel is enormous- pressure from coaches, teammates, sponsors, fans, the media and even family. The arena is really more like a pressure cooker. There is often no mercy for mistakes, difficult days or even injuries or health problems. It’s do or die. Succeed or fail. At least that is what our culture says. People are finicky- one day you’re a champion and the next, you’re a loser.
There is a different way to look at the arena though. I like Theodore Roosevelt’s description, “The Man in the Arena.” See if you can relate.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
You are men and women of the arena. Your audience of One sees your striving and deeds, your enthusiasm and your devotion to a worthy cause. He is proud of you and so am I.
I Corinthians 15:57-58
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
Article by: Brice Maddock – COO, Teen Challenge Southeast