Stan Mikita, a star center for the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, used to get in a lot of fights during games. He stopped one day when his daughter, Meg, who was eight at the time, asked a very grown up question: “How can you score a goal, Daddy, when you’re in the penalty box all the time?”
If I might rephrase the question, How can you work for the Lord if you aren’t walking with the Lord? If you have trusted in Christ, you’re on His team. You’re in the ministry. You are as responsible as I am before God to fulfill your ministry. To do it, pay attention to your walk with Christ; that’s the foundation. And, pay attention to your work for Him. Don’t neglect the gift He has entrusted to you. (excerpt from Bible.org – The Study of My Testimony)
A scripture reference that hits this very example is in Matthew:
13 “You are the salt of the earth, kbut if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 l“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 mNor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so nthat2 they may see yourgood works and ogive glory to your Father who is in heaven. – MATTHEW 5:13-16
As a hockey player myself, sitting in the sin bin is a real dilemma. Amidst an action packed game of speed, hand eye coordination, and cold sweat on ice, hockey has a way of bringing out the best of you, and the worst of you… Not much different from a believer living in the sin stained world?
In Christ, freedom from guilt and shame allows for the every day life to be filled with Spirit led blessings and abundance, however it does not ELIMINATE your sin entirely. Even the strongest faith will be challenged and even the most devout believer still experiences sin. The power is staying out of the penalty box, or “sin bin”. As Stan Mikita’s daughter so clearly articulated above… “How can you score a goal when you’re in the penalty box all the time?
Our faith lives no different. We cannot expect our lives to be light shining displays of God’s glory when we’re stuck in sin patterns, destructive habits or speech, and continuing failures of the flesh. We cannot maintain disobedience to God and expect big goals to come through at the same time. I have referenced this before using the dirty water poured into a glass of clean water… For obedience to Christ’s righteousness, this free gift of salvation, again something we cannot earn… means that life continues and the battle against sin and darkness goes FAR BEYOND our day of salvation.
Can you remember that day for yourself? The first time you felt God pulling your heart out of the ditch and into His Hands? Can you recall the light shining so brightly into your life you knew you were saved? We need to get that feeling back on a daily level, on an hourly level, even by the minute. We need to STAY out of the penalty box! This does not mean we play the game of life less intense or that we stop trying to score the goals under-manned when the enemy is on power plays…. but it’s the mind of Christ that sticks to the fundamentals of the game…
- Prayer — Prayer in all things.. a constant communication with the King.
- Presence —- Knowledge and awareness that He is ALWAYS on the ice with us.
- Community — Accepting help from others, family, friends, strangers, and OFFERING help to others… living in the Body of Christ.
- Power — Consistent requests and expectation for God to DO the AMAZING. He has, does, and will do this REGULARLY… but we have to keep the POWER connected!
- Preach — Telling the good news, our story, our testimony, His works and love and grace to others on a regular basis.. reminding not only ourselves of His promises but to grant these promises to others!
Love to all you! Fired up this Monday!
FYI – a little about Stan –
Stan Mikita: Noted as on of the 100 Greatest NHL Players!
Black Hawks center, one of greatest in League history,
Mikita’s treasure trove of keepsakes? As massive as his heart and competitive spirit. He is the only player to win the Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy in the same season, doing so in consecutive seasons, 1966-67 and 1967-68. He also won the Art Ross Trophy in 1963-64 and 1964-65. Mikita was named to the First All-Star Team six times and the Second All-Star Team twice. In 1976, he won the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. In 1980, his No. 21 was retired and raised to the rafters at Chicago Stadium. In 1983, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. For all he meant, on and off the ice, Mikita was brought on as team ambassador in 2008.
“I thought for sure that by then, I would be forgotten,” Mikita said. “Instead, I am still being remembered. How lucky can a guy be?”
With Pilous now coaching in Chicago, Mikita got the call to join the Black Hawks as an emergency replacement during the 1958-59 season. His first faceoff at Chicago Stadium was against Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens.
“I was in a daze,” Mikita said. “I looked up from the circle and wound up staring at his belly button. He had to outweigh me by 60 pounds. My knees were shaking. My head was spinning.”
After that brief introduction, Mikita returned to the Black Hawks in 1959-60 and never left. With mentors such as Glenn Hall and Ted Lindsay, Mikita soon was a fixture on the ice and in the city. He contributed mightily to the Black Hawks’ Stanley Cup victory in 1961, scoring 11 points in 12 games, and then became in Hull’s words, “pound for pound, the greatest hockey player who ever played. He was tougher than a night in jail.”
Edgy and diminutive (5-foot-9, 159 pounds), Mikita absorbed his share of hits. He did not recoil. When he won his first Art Ross in 1964, he had 146 penalty minutes. In 1965, again the scoring champion, Mikita was again a truculent sort, finishing with 154 penalty minutes. Fatherhood evoked a transformation. Meg — Stan and wife Jill’s first of four children — was watching the first period of a game in New York before bedtime. Stan was involved, as usual, when Meg turned to Jill and inquired: “Why does Daddy always sit by himself? Why doesn’t he sit with Uncle Bobby (Hull) and Uncle Kenny (Wharram)?” Mikita took note. Doing penance in the penalty box served no purpose. In 1966-67, when the new Mikita won the Lady Byng for sportsmanship, he had 12 penalty minutes.
Mikita, quite literally, was ahead of the curve in many respects. During a practice, his stick got caught in the crack of the doorway by the bench. The blade bent. Rather than grab a replacement, Mikita continued to practice. When he fired a shot with that “banana”, he liked what he saw. The puck moved differently. Later on in his career, Mikita decided to wear a helmet full time. He eventually designed a model.
“I didn’t worry about being thought of as a chicken,” Mikita said. “Not after some of the hard knocks I had taken. I didn’t have to worry about it destroying my good looks, either. I didn’t have any to destroy.”
A consummate playmaker, Mikita played with a spate of wings. He centered the “Scooter Line” with Ab McDonald and Wharram, then a second incarnation with Doug Mohns and Wharram — a highly productive threesome during the 1960s. On occasion, Mikita and Hull would link up, statues waiting to happen. In 2010, the Chicago Sun-Times published a list of its greatest players in franchise history. Mikita was No. 1, Hull No. 2.
Mikita, Jill and family were full-time residents of Chicago, where they endeared themselves to the community. Mikita answered his own phone, cut his own lawn, and was a serial giver. When a friend mentioned that his deaf son loved hockey, Mikita helped launch the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association.
“When I came to Canada, I couldn’t understand what people were saying,” Mikita said. “I might as well have been deaf. So I could understand what these kids were dealing with, barriers, lack of confidence and self-esteem. Amazing. Because I was able to skate a little bit and shoot a puck, I have been incredibly blessed. I scratch my head sometimes. How did this happen? Like I mentioned before. Fiction. Except it’s true.”
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