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The Crown

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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The Crown


Verses to read: 2 Timothy 4:5-8

The 1996-97 season was both victorious and sorrowful for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. In this triumphant year, the team had won the greatest prize in hockey—the Stanley Cup. But joy quickly turned into tragedy as a car accident claimed the career of a leading player on the team.

Just days after winning the Stanley Cup, Red Wing player Vladamir Konstantinov lay in a coma. He had fought an enormous fight to become the player he was. Now he would have an even greater fight for his life. Remarkable, he fought back faster than anyone would have dreamed. But it was clear to all that his hockey career was over. Vladamir was now in a wheelchair.

The following season, the Red Wings pledged to win for Vladamir. They wore special patches on their jerseys—patches that bore the words, “I believe” in Russian. Incredibly, the Red Wings had another remarkable year and repeated their Stanley Cup victory. At the end of the championship game, Vladamir was rolled onto the ice in his wheelchair and his teammates gathered around him. They pushed him around the ice with the Stanley cup trophy on his lap. The expression on Vladamir’s face showed that there was nothing as victorious as the moment of triumph.

As believers in Christ, we are not guaranteed a life of ease. There is no promise that we will avoid trouble and hardship. But we who have faith will receive an imperishable crown. Despite our hardships, failures, and scars, we will receive a crown of righteousness awarded by the Righteous Judge himself. So keep fighting the good fight and “endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). One day in the presence of Jesus Christ, we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Hearing those words will be an even greater triumph than holding the Stanley Cup!

  1. What hardships are you facing?

  2. Do the trials of life change the relationships you have with your coaches, family members, or players?

  3. What does it mean to “finish the race?”

    Extra Bible reading: 2 Timothy 2:3 and 2 Corinthians 9: 24-27