As a high school basketball and football official for many seasons, I had the attitude to want to officiate the perfect game! You know , with no mistakes. The players and coaches work hard and they deserve it. Well, I soon figured out it is not possible. Mistakes always happen. But I can still do a good job, strive to get into the proper position to call fouls, and help make it a worthwhile experience.
So, I changed my attitude and I tried to just “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” (1 John 1:7) I could shine like the stars in the heavens with an excellent Christian attitude, regardless of the circumstances. What a challenge!
I began to use the philosophy of Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for God, not men.” It helped me to keep my composure and stay focused.
Sometimes I would make a mistake before the game even started! Once during the coin toss in the Captains meeting at midfield before a football game, I forgot the coin. Fortunately, one of my fellow officials had a coin!
One time an official forgot his football shoes and, once he realized it, it was too late to go home and get them. So we found some old black softball shoes which were 2 sizes too big and he wore those. It never happened again.
There are many examples of mistakes we made. But these are mistakes made in a sporting event. Mistakes in our lives can be more serious.
God wants us to own up to our mistakes. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
Sports are a microcosm of our society and our lives. Games, situations and people may not be fair and can be irritating. Mistakes are made by coaches, players and officials. Sometimes those mistakes are huge and sometimes those mistakes are not even noticed. Let’s be Christian role-models with mistakes we make and walk in the light with our language and behavior. Always, in every area of our lives. For we are working with all our hearts, for God, not men.