Sport Principle 22: Hearts & Minds

About the Sport Principle

I love rugby league. But this hasn’t always been the case. It took my youngest son joining a local club, and then his coach to organise a trip to watch his club, Wigan Warriors, followed by an international at Anfield, for us to be hooked! We’re now fully paid up long term supporters of the world’s greatest rugby league team – Rochdale Hornets! ‘Hearts and Minds’ is a common term, often used in the context of the avoidance of war, an effort to win over the people peacefully. It has been used in the context of all kinds of political and charitable causes too down the years. I suppose that prior to my personal involvement with rugby league, my head has always told me that it was a worthwhile sport, but it wasn’t until I had first-hand experience of top-level games, complete with fireworks and the unique rugby atmosphere, that my heart was convinced, and I became a fan. 

Application to Life

When it comes to human survival, clearly every part of the body has a part to play. Of course, Paul had plenty to say about the spiritual application of this in 1 Corinthians 12. But it’s fair to say the heart and the brain (the organ most closely associated with our minds) would be seen as more important than any of the others. Actually, it seems that consistently throughout the Bible, the heart and mind come top of the list of important body parts for our spiritual survival too! That said, we know from Philippians chapter 4 that the peace of God can override the importance of even these two vital organs. If you have experienced, as I have, the heartbreak of close family members suffering from that cruellest of diseases, dementia, this truth that God’s peace and love breaks through even the hardest of hearts, or the most confused of minds, is quite literally a life-saver!

There is lots to be said about the use of our whole hearts, as well as our intellects in our personal walks with God, but rather I want to land this quick thought about hearts and minds today not so much with ourselves, but in terms of our outreach as we attempt to win others for Christ with our words and our lifestyles. In the same way that the England rugby league hierarchy is desperate to get the tournament, now delayed 12 months, played in our country, is there a case to simply get our non-Christian friends to church – to experience the carefully cultivated atmosphere of Godliness and love? In the same way that the high-profile men’s Conference (The gathering 2022) may be the equivalent to the England match, getting people over the line, and hooked into Jesus, perhaps the local church is the equivalent of the Rochdale Hornets game – sometimes boring, often a losing experience, but always the best place to be on a Sunday afternoon (morning in the case of church) no matter what! The edge that we as the church have over rugby league, of course, is that we are talking about the only thing of eternal significance on the planet, and we have the Holy Spirit to help us, convicting and guiding people to Himself! Of course, God doesn’t need us in order to fulfil His will and draw people to Himself, but mysteriously, He frequently chooses to use us. Let’s recommit ourselves to doing our part and relentlessly inviting & bringing people to church, the stadiums of the Kingdom of God, so that as God does His part and supernaturally meets with them, hearts and minds are eternally won for Him!   

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” 

Matthew 22:37

Image Credit: Morgan Housel