JANNIE DE BEER
I always dreamed about playing for the Springbok team, but at one stage I realized that rugby had become everything to me. It was the beginning and end, the major focus of my life. I knew God, but only in a very impersonal way. I grew up as a regular church attender and knew about the Christian way of life. I had given my life to the Lord as a child and saw the principles of Christian living in operation in my own home. I was privileged in having that foundation.
With my rugby I was often left disappointed. There were many times I knew I played well enough to make the team, but I never did - whatever the reason was, I don't know.
Every time I would think, I'm not getting any younger, and I wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to play for the Springboks. I also went through a period where I had many injuries and even a few operations. It was at that time that I re-examined my life. I told God that from now on rugby would be a side issue. I only wanted to enjoy it and use it for His kingdom, I wanted to put Him first in my life I thanked God for the talent He had given me and gave it back to Him - to do with as He pleased.
From a point where God was there but not all that important, I came to a place where the others things - including rugby - were great, but God was first. So I started to give God the glory for the blessings in my life and the talent He gave me. I only wanted to be an instrument in His hands. The moment I gave God the one thing that was most important to me, He said: Because you put me first, I will bless you. It s as the Scripture teaches us: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you" (Matt 6:33).
God knows what we need and will meet those needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.(Phil 4:19) I didn't make the team because I am such a good player. I didn't get here on my own. It is everything I wanted and worked hard for, but on my own I couldn't manage to take hold of it. It's almost like a butterfly that you chase after and you never can catch it. But once you go and sit still, the butterfly comes to you and it comes and sits on your shoulder. I just rested in God and in His word. And if I never get the opportunity to play for South Africa again, it will make no difference to my relationship with God. It was wonderful, I enjoyed it tremendously but it has no eternal value in itself. Playing good rugby is not going to save my soul. It is a talent God gave me and I only want to use it for His kingdom.