Free Children's Sermons

Great Athletes

November 2, 2014

Matthew 23:1-12


Who are some famous people you have heard of? (Time for sharing.) Why are they so well known? (Sharing time.) People are often famous because they are really good at something. It may be sports, acting, music, medicine, or something else. We think they are great people because they make lots of money, we see them often on TV, and everyone is talking about them.


In today’s Bible story Jesus says he has a different way of knowing whether or not someone is “great.” Jesus says the truly great people are not the ones who have everyone running around talking about how great they. The people who are really great are the ones who serve others. Several years ago, USA Weekend magazine chose two famous men they called the “Most Caring Athletes” in America. They are athletes who know that being great means serving others.


One was Andre Agassi, a very famous professional tennis player. He had won many tournaments and is considered one of the very best tennis players of all time. He was often on television, and in newspapers and magazines. When  he played in a tournament people from all over the world came to watch him.


Andre earned a lot of money and he could spend all this money on himself and his family, but instead he decided to help children in his Las Vegas hometown by starting The Andre Agassi College Preparation Academy, a $4.4 million school. His goal is to see that every one of the students at the Academy would be prepared to go to college when they graduate from high school. He is helping these children know how important getting a good education is. Agassi also used his money to buy clothes and other items for poor children and to fund  a shelter for children who were being mistreated. He is truly “great!”


The other award winner was Alonzo Mourning, a 6’ 9” professional basketball player who had been with the Miami Heat team since 1996. He was such a good player he was chosen to be on the 2000 Olympics basketball team in Australia. During the Olympics he flew home to America to be with his wife while their baby was born, flying back a day later to play in the games.


In 1997, Alonzo Mourning established AM Charities to aid in the development of children and families living in at-risk situations. Since then, AM Charities has raised more than $6.5 million dollars. In addition to supporting other non-profit organizations, Mourning focused his attention on developing youth enrichment centers. With the help of donors, Mourning opened the Overtown Youth Center in 2003 in South Florida.


After being diagnosed in 2000 with kidney disease and having a transplant, Mourning launched “Zo’s Fund for Life.” Funds are allocated toward research for a cure, education for doctors and the general public, testing for early detection, and help for those not able to afford medication. Mourning was a great basketball player for many years, but he has also learned what it means to be a truly “great” person.


We may not be as famous or as rich as Andre or Alonzo, but we can be “great” people just the same, by serving others in small and not so small ways. 


Let’s pray: God, we pray that we will never forget what it really means to be “great.” Show us ways to serve others in our lives. Amen.