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Leave It All On The Field


By: Kristen L. McNulty

This devotion first aired on the MAD Christian Radio Show

If you’ve ever played sports or watched a game, chances are you’ve heard a coach instruct their players to leave it all on the field. Or in hockey that would be leave it all on the ice. Or in basketball, leave it all on the court. The concept the coach is trying to portray to their players is they should give everything they have to the game they are playing, holding nothing back. And it’s sound advice. A football player who doesn’t run full tilt to receive the pass, but has enough energy left in reserve for a five k run after the game, shouldn’t be on the field. Athletes who don’t give their all during the game don’t get very far and neither do their teams.

The same should applies to our lives and our efforts in building the kingdom of God.

In the Bible more than once the life of a Christian is compared to the life of an athlete. Let’s flip over to 1 Corinthians, chapter 9, starting at verse 24:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT


After reading these verses it’s prudent to ask ourselves how we are doing in the race? Are we running to win, giving it all we have? Or are we jogging behind at the back of the pack, putting in enough effort to make it look like we’re still in the race, but saving our time and energy so we can still pursue the things of this world on the side?

The Christian life isn’t supposed to be lived with compromise. Jesus doesn’t offer us the choice of signing up for different levels of commitment when we say we’re going to follow Him. The Christian life isn’t a membership club with us being able to choose whether we want to be bronze, silver or gold members. It’s an all in commitment, which asks for our entire lives, not just a percentage of it. As Jesus said in Mark, chapter 8, starting at verse 34:

“Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mark 8:34-37 NLT


Following Jesus means leaving it all on the field for wherever long we are granted life on this earth. It means following Him in every aspect of our lives from money to relationships to jobs to friends to free time. It doesn’t mean being perfect, but it does mean being all in with commitment.

I don’t know about you, but when I cross over from this life to the next, I don’t want to look back and grieve with regret all of the things I invested myself in that were temporary and now gone. No, I want to look back and see that my life on earth was building the kind of things that will pass the fire test in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. I want to have left nothing on the field and it’s my hope and prayer you’re with me on that.

Closing with some words of encouragement for all of us, coming from Hebrews 12:1-3:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT