I was listening to a podcast where the panel was discussing the war in Ukraine when I heard someone repeat an old Chinese proverb:
It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
For the past two decades, the United States has had young men and women downrange and in harm's way in some foreign land. This has been the longest running period of time in our country's history where our military has been engaged in conflicts around the world. What has been amazing about this time period has been the minimal loss of life when compared to previous wars. So few Americans even personally know someone who lost their life in these recent conflicts.
Nobody would argue a higher body count is a good thing; however, the fewer people affected appears to have distanced the average American from the horrors of war. The ultimate horror being the loss of life. Furthermore, most often wars seem to be the byproduct of evil people who show no deference to God coupled to the willingness of God's people unwillingness to confront the evil they see.
We live in a fallen world where spiritual warfare is ongoing. We are currently in a time where too few among us are ready to recognize and confront the enemy. It has been said, "Hard times create hard men. Hard men create soft times. Soft times create soft men and soft men create hard times."
We have been in a period of soft times for several decades. As pointed out previously, even our wars have had little impact on our lives. We have greater concern for whales, seals and polar ice caps than we do for the loss of the unborn. We are creating gardeners but history teaches us that the real war, the spiritual war, is only heating up.
One of the callings for us at Tribe football is to guide young men to become Christian warriors. We believe strongly that, like Jacob, we will struggle with God. As sinners, we will fall short of his standard of righteousness, we will fail to give him credit and often be quick to forsake him to tackle our problems with solutions born of this world and of Him.
We know it is not a matter of "if" but only of "when" that our athletes will face difficulties in their lives. To this end, we do our best to equip them for the battles which lie ahead. We want them to be warriors in the garden of life. We desire them to put on the armor of God. Peace, truth, righteousness, faith, salvation and spirit are the tools by which they keep the enemy from destroying the garden.
We carry these same principles onto the field of play. We seek no ill will for any opponent and respect them as competitors. We seek to play by the rules. We do what is right and ethical. We trust in our training. We are confident in the outcomes we seek. Finally, we recognize that we do all things through Christ and give him the glory.
We are going to need hard men and the hardest will be those sharpened by iron through the word of God. You want to be surrounded by warriors in the Garden today because you don't want to fight the battles tomorrow with gardeners.