Sports, Fame, Money & Christianity (You vs You 4.0)
Here’s the last in the series for You vs You 4.0 panel discussion that was held on 23rd of August 2014. Biju Thomas, Former National Athlete 400 metres (India), answers questions related to Sports, Fame, Money and how a Christian should approach these areas.
Prince: In India, there is always a natural inclination towards taking interest in sports, and especially to Cricket. But someone taking up a career in sports is not something we see often in India. How can someone identify himself as a potential candidate who can go miles and be successful? Give us some tips on how to understand that.
Biju: Sometimes, by just looking at a person you can make out if he has the qualities of a sportsman/sportswoman. The very external looks and traits of a person can help you identify the sportsman/woman in him or her. I have a son who is so energetic and vibrant that to oxidize his energy levels every evening, I have to make him run till he gets tired enough to go to sleep.
Secondly, as Ligin mentioned, a passion and desire to pursue it seriously is very necessary, to the extent of being able to give up almost everything for the sake of following the dream of becoming a sportsman/woman in life. Even in my life, I had to undergo so many pressures to pursue the potential in me. So one should expect all these and be ready to overcome them to be a good sportsman/woman.
Prince: Now in India, it is still difficult to choose sports as a profession. There is pressure from parents, who prefer kids to be doctors and engineers. If a person has identified that he has the potential and has that passion, there is a good chance that he will be all alone with no support from anyone. In such a scenario how do you go about it? Whom do we approach, what channels should be choosen?
Biju: True. It is very difficult to pursue sports as a career or profession in India. Unless you have a proper support from the family and a good financial backup, a career in sports would look very bleak. It would be a very difficult thing to handle. Even for me, I had to undergo so many pressures even from my home and parents as I pursued to fulfil the potential in me. There was hardly any encouragement for me from my parents in spite of being the third best at the national level – an achievement that very few sportsmen get. Many a times, our achievements may not matter to anyone when we don’t get too much of money.
So here, prayer and a relationship with God is what would strengthen us and help us to keep going. You also need to get professional training and very importantly a good coach and mentor to guide you. Also lately, there are many organisations that identify potential sportsmen and sponsor them. You could track them online and contact them. But above all – Pray! If it is God’s will for you, it will happen. But remember, it will be for His glory.
Prince: Money and Fame can truly be a deadly combination. How does one handle Money and Fame? I believe you have been there. When you are famous, it is quite natural to feel proud but word of God says that could lead to disaster.
Biju: To be honest, I did not handle it well then. But now, by the Grace of God, I am saved. Money and fame are automatic elements that would pump in when you start getting successful in the passion that you were following. But very importantly, we must understand that pride goes before a fall. So, be it sports or ministry or whatever you do, fame and money are bound to pour in when you keep getting successful in your area of expertise. And in such a scenario, only a relationship with the Lord, our Saviour Jesus Christ can help us to balance everything. The obvious target of the devil by giving us fame and money is to destroy our spiritual life as well as our relationship with God, which is a key to all other destruction.
So from my experience, till I did not have a good relation with Christ, I ended up in the pleasures of the world. With my relation with Christ building up, I could realise the dirt of the miry clay that I was getting drowned in. With Jesus Christ coming into my heart, my priorities in spite of fame and money became Christ, which in turn made me easier to balance the same with my spiritual life. To narrow it down, your relationship with God has to be strong enough to not let fame and money defeat you.
Previous Blogposts from You vs You 4.0:
From the discussion points raised by the three panellists, we know that we need to build our “Inner You” to be stronger than our “Outer You”. When your Inner Man or Spirit is strong, no fame, no money or no worldly temptation or desires can conquer you. As the name ‘You vs You’ portrays, a battle within yourself, it is you through your relationship with God who decides the victor. May God help you win your daily battles!
Do not miss our Special edition – You vs You 5.0 with Evg. Hari Rao, Evg. Francis Mathew, Evg. Johnsy John and Evg. Santhosh Varghese at Ekklesia 2014. To know more about it, check out our Ekklesia page.