The Difference Between the Athlete’s Hope and the Christian’s Hope

  
As I write this, it is the day after the NY Mets won the National League Championship Series, or “The Pennant.” I’ve been a Mets fan as long as I can remember. I come from a family which had rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers, so when the Dodgers had left New York for Los Angeles in 1958, my family, along with many other Dodger fans, later embraced the Mets when that franchise started in 1962; filling the void that the Dodgers had left. The same went for many NY Giants fans when their team also left New York in 1958, for San Francisco. 

A neat little fact regarding the Mets uniform is that the “NY” logo on their cap is the same as the one which was on the NY Giants cap. Also, the Mets orange color came from the Giants, and the Mets blue color came from the Dodgers. They combined the look of both of the teams who had left their fanbases for the west coast. 

The Mets historically have been a mediocre team, with moments of greatness, such as in 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000, and now, 2015. Each of these years the Mets won the Pennant, making it to the World Series, and also winning it in both 1969 and in 1986. (Hopefully, they will win the World Series this year as well… Lord willing.)

As a Mets fan, I always long for what our cross-town rival fans, the fans of the NY Yankees, always seem to have… hope. It’s not easy always rooting for the Mets in the shadows of that legendary organization. The Mets fan is always more likely to be devoid of hope than the Yankees fan, historically speaking anyway. Why? Because, that organization has won 27 World Series and 40 Pennants. So, us Mets fans, we savor these rare moments. 

Last night was something special. Not only did the Mets earn a spot in the World Series by winning the Pennant, but Daniel Murphy, the Mets second baseman, hit yet another home-run to make it six consecutive games he’s done so in post season play this year. That’s a Major League record. And, who knows? Maybe it will continue in the first game of the World Series? We’ll see. 

The other special thing about Murphy is… he’s a Christian. Therefore, he has a unique perspective regarding “hope.”

“Hope” can mean different things. Up above, I used the word to describe my desire, my wish, regarding Mets success. Such is what Daniel Murphy (the athlete) is motivated by, in order to persevere the trials of training and sacrifice which are needed to be a potential winner in baseball. (Notice that I said potential.) All the years Murphy had spent working out and honing his baseball skills only hinges upon what’s possible. In other words, the athlete doesn’t know if he or she will ever achieve themselves what they have strived for all their lives through trial… victory. 

However, Daniel Murphy (the Christian) is motivated to persevere trials, not by what’s possible due to his own doing, but by what’s assured by someone else’s doing. John describes “hope” in the Christian sense…

1 John 3:1-3 (HCSB)
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.”

The Christian knows whether or not victory will be achieved, regardless of the trials faced, because Christ has already achieved it… 

“…everyone who has hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.” 

Peter flushes this out more directly…

1 Peter 1:3-9 (HCSB)
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith — more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

See?

The Christian’s hope causes him or her to rejoice in “struggle in various trials,” because what is hoped for, “the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls,” is “imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” by Jesus Himself. “You are being protected by God’s power,” because Christ is the “victor.”

Revelation 3:21 (HCSB)
“The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Thus, The Difference Between the Athlete’s Hope and the Christian’s Hope

Daniel Murphy understands the difference. Do you?

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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