By Chad Bonham
“I’m not the most athletic guy on the floor. But I feel like I’ve worked harder to get to this level than the majority of the players…People ask me what my goal is in basketball and I just want to squeeze every ounce of potential that I have out of me. I look at a lot of guys that are just naturally gifted and good for them. But they didn’t have to work as hard to get there…There’s a sense of pride when it’s all said and done and you can look back and say that it was with blood, sweat, and tears and you didn’t cut corners. You gave it your all.” – Kyle Korver, All-Star NBA Shooting Guard
In sports, you hear a lot about two very different kinds of athlete. One is labeled an “underachiever”—an athlete that has a ton of talent but gets by putting out the minimal effort. The other is referred to as an “overachiever”—someone who makes up for a lack of physical gifts and athletic prowess with an abundance of hard work, determination and drive.
In the New Testament, Jesus gave an example of both while at the synagogue with the disciples:
(Jesus) looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. “I tell you the truth,” He said. “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.” – Luke 21:1-4 (HCSB)
In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus was identifying the people who gave “of their surplus” as the underachievers while representing the poor widow as a classic overachiever, a guy like Kyle Korver, for example.
As athletes and as Christians, we also face the same decision as the people that Jesus described. We can hold back aspects of our finances, our relationships, our possessions and, in essence, pieces of our heart. In doing so, we will never truly live up to our God-given potential.
But as Jesus says in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.”
And to receive that perfect completion of God’s will for each of us, we must be willing to lay everything we have and everything we are at the sacrificial altar as the ultimate gift of thanks for the sacrifice Jesus made for us at the Cross.
1. Can you think of a well-known athlete who has been labeled an “underachiever?” What about an example of an “overachiever?”
2. Would you describe yourself as an “underachiever,” an “overachiever” or something in between?
3. What drives you achieve great things? What are some things in your life that might cause you to underachieve?
4. What are some areas of your life that you sacrifice for the cause of Christ? How do you think that kind of offering might change your future?
For additional study on this topic, read: John 10:10, Romans 12:1, Colossians 3:17, and Ephesians 5:1-2.
(Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a devotional that originally appeared in the FCA Competitor’s Bible.)