Do you ever feel like you were born about twenty years too soon? That was my first reaction to the news that the University of Utah will begin handing out partial scholarships for competitive video gaming. And, as Bloomberg‘s Eben Novy-Williams writes, while the Salt Lake City school is “the first school in the ‘Power Five’—the five richest athletic conferences in college sports—to offer scholarships for video gaming,” they likely won’t be the last. Several smaller schools already offer eSports scholarships and the Big Ten Network began showing competitions between the club teams at its schools earlier this year.
Considering that the global eSports economy was expected to generate roughly $463 million last year, $175 million of which would come from the US, it’s understandable that universities would want to get in sooner rather than later. The University of Utah, however, seems to have another motive beyond getting in on the ground floor of what could be the next big collegiate sport. The Princeton Review recently named their Entertainment Arts and Engineering department as the best video game design program in the nation. The money to pay for those scholarships will come from that department rather than the school’s $70 million athletics budget.
In a way, it seems like the University of Utah is doubling down on what it does well, placing an added focus on an area that’s most likely to yield positive results. As Christians, we could learn something from that.
While there are situations that require us to work outside our specific calling, far too many of us spend a disproportionate amount of our time and efforts on things we were just not made to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that such activities are bad. In fact, they’re often good and godly ways for Christians to spend their time. Yet Scripture is clear that we were each gifted for a specific purpose that only we can accomplish. When we stray from that purpose too often, the kingdom suffers (1 Corinthians 12).
The next time you see a need, take a moment to ask God if you are really the person he wants to use to meet it. That’s not an excuse for being lazy, as the Lord has a role for each of us to play in the body of Christ and sitting idly by while others work is not it. It’s also not a reason to avoid ever doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable or stretches your boundaries a bit, as there are times where an all-hands-on-deck approach is necessary for a church or community of believers to function—participation in the children’s ministry, for example, is one such area at our church.
However, when we attempt to do that which God has not called us to do, we not only place ourselves outside of his will for our lives but often deprive other believers of the chance to serve in the manner to which they are called. The ripple effect from such, often well-intentioned, disobedience can truly impact every facet of a ministry.
So take some time today and ask God to help you understand the ways in which he’s called you to serve his kingdom. But decide in advance that you’ll not only listen but also act on what he tells you. The Lord created you for a purpose. Are you accomplishing it?