Those who know me know that I’m a big Montreal Canadiens fan. In fact, I’ve turned a corner of my office into a kind of shrine with an autographed and framed Guy Lafleur jersey prominently displayed in the center. I try to keep my obsession in check, though. For instance, I haven’t yet asked people to take off their shoes and genuflect when they approach the jersey.
This year, one of the new Canadiens who has garnered a lot of attention and press is George Parros. Parros was signed during the off-season as a free agent and has quickly become one of the most popular Canadiens. Parros is generally acknowledged to be a wonderful teammate and a fun-loving guy with a great sense of humour who is well liked by his compatriots. Furthermore, he’s polite to the media, responsive to fans, and a strong family man. Parros is probably one of the most interesting guys in hockey, too, having earned a degree in Economics from Princeton University. In fact, he was once named the fourth-smartest athlete in all of professional sports.
Yes, George Parros is a lot of things. Unfortunately, the one thing he is not is a hockey player. Excuse me for getting rather technical here but a hockey player’s main job is either to score goals or prevent the other team from scoring goals. To be blunt, George Parros is really bad at both these things. What he is good at is fighting—fighting other hockey players to be precise. The truth is, the Montreal Canadiens signed Parros to a contract not because he’s a great skater or a slick passer or a nifty goal scorer or even because he’s a great teammate and has a degree from Princeton. The Canadiens signed him because at 6’ 5” and 222 pounds he’s good at beating up hockey players. And compared to most of us he’s pretty well compensated for his efforts, too, earning close to a million dollars a year.
Now, let me be clear—I don’t know George Parros at all. I am in no position to judge his thoughts, his feelings, or his motivations. Looking in from the outside, however, I can’t help but wonder if he’s spending his life doing what God wants him to. I have to wonder if it’s God’s will that this intelligent, charismatic family man with a winning personality spend his life beating up people.
And when I ask that question about George Parros I had better be ready to ask that question about myself, too. Why? Because the same temptations that I suspect entice Parros are ones that we are all susceptible to. Again, without knowing Parros and not being a professional athlete myself, I can only imagine how alluring the life of an NHL hockey player must be. The money, the fame, the adulation—I imagine it would be difficult for anyone to resist those siren calls.
Yet, as Christians, we are called to live for something much more important and much more lasting than fame and fortune; we are called to give our lives to things that will matter more and make a difference longer than the average hockey career or even the average life.
That’s why it’s so important for us to live our lives intentionally and for something bigger than ourselves. When it comes right down to it there are only two things that are going to stand the test of time. One is the quality of your life—that is, the character that you have developed over the years—the person you’ve become. The second thing that will last is the time you’ve spent investing in other people’s lives—the time you’ve spent helping others physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ultimately, nothing else is going to matter. Yet, how much of what I do isn’t going to make a difference six months from now let alone in eternity? Not a question I always want to ask myself.
Yes, it’s easy for me to look at someone like George Parros and ask, “Do you really want to spend your life doing that?” Yet, I wonder how much of what I do makes God ask the same question about me. I want my life to matter. I want it to make a difference. I want to invest the few years I have left on this earth in things that are going to stand the test of time.
PRAYER: God, help me to live intentionally—to give my life to things that matter.