“Are you playing for the name on the front of the jersey or on the back?”
It’s a saying credited to Canadian hockey coach Sherry Bassin in the 90s. I heard it for the first time from the pastor at my parents’ church a few months ago. And it’s pretty simple to understand — be a team player. Play for the team name that’s printed on the front of your jersey, not just for your last name printed on the back.
If we are Christians, we’re no longer representing ourselves, we’re representing Christ. It’s in the name. And how we live should reflect that. We no longer live for ourselves. We live to spread Christ’s love to the world.
Of course, this really isn’t a jersey we can put on just one day a week and then leave it in the locker room. This should impact our everyday lives, in all that we do.
Who do you serve?
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
And that will take work. It’s human natural to live and work for your own glory, to benefit yourself and your family, and that’s it. But living as representatives of God is something Jesus tells us to do:
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
Our actions, our work, the way we talk and the way we treat others all should point to God. Our “jersey” has His name across the front. And we should be living with our dedication to that name and not our own.
‘Not your own’
Paul adds a few mentions that once we’ve received the Holy Spirit, it really isn’t our life to live anyways. It’s God’s.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).