As the Sweet 16 games begin tonight, I hope to see closer and harder fought games. With the intensity rising, boxing out, diving for loose balls, and tight defense all become extremely important for a team to advance.

When I watch games and observe players standing around on defense, unwilling to dive on the floor or fight for a rebound, I have to question their effort and passion.

I especially get frustrated when I see good offensive players who love to hit threes, disappear on the other side of the floor. Are they playing to win a championship or are they just there to hit some shots and receive the applause?

 The teams that have players who are willing to put forth effort in the little things, and do whatever it takes, are the ones that move on – especially when teams are so evenly matched.

A player’s effort and attitude on the court ultimately reveal his heart, love, and motivation. There is a distinct difference between the players that leave it all out there and those that hold back.

If a player is driven to win a championship, execute his coach’s game plan, and sacrifice for the team, he is playing for something much bigger than himself.

In our own lives, we have jobs, tasks, and responsibilities that reveal our motivation and love. Are we showing a maximum effort and a passionate attitude?

As followers of Jesus, we must constantly remind ourselves that our efforts don’t have to be in our own strength or for our own glory. If our motivation in our work is to accomplish God’s purposes and show Him our love, then we stop standing around and start diving on the floor for loose balls.

The Bible says in Colossians 3:23 (ESV), “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…”

The amplified version challenges us even further: “Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men…”

 As we approach our jobs and other responsibilities, let’s consider our effort, attitude, and motivation. Are we filled with laziness and negativity or are we inspired because we’re doing everything for a bigger purpose and from the soul?

Today, let’s allow our love for God to shine through in how we attack each task…and be motivated through the power and passion from Jesus to give maximum effort. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpackthat!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for not always giving my best effort and having a bad attitude about certain tasks. Please continue to remind me that I’m not working for man or myself, but for You and Your glory. Please help me approach each day recognizing that passion and power are always available through Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.