40:Love for God
After 5 hours and 53 minutes of grueling tennis, a man stops, smiles, and then crosses himself in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He does so to thank the One who is responsible for getting him from the war-torn land of Kosovo to the number one spot in men’s world tennis.
Twenty years ago, a little boy saw a tennis lesson going on. He immediately felt drawn to the court, and he began to collect the balls while the lessons went on. Not long after, he picked up a racket and Jelena Gencic, a tennis coach, knew that this little boy would become someone great. This little boy was Novak Djokovic, who twenty years later became the world number one in tennis. But the question is, how did he do it? Well, with the help of God, of course.
Novak was born to a Serbian Orthodox family in Kosovo, Serbia. His young years were plagued by war; however, that did not stop his family from pushing him to follow his dreams. Novak’s family knew that he had to use his God-given talent. After years of hard work, Novak finally entered the pro tennis world in 2003. He quickly climbed to the number three spot, but unfortunately, he could not battle the two top guys. This always bothered him. Many times he felt like he was not good enough and that it would simply be impossible. But, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).
After so much struggle and so many doubts, in 2010 everything changed. Novak won the Davis Cup with his fellow teammates from Serbia. This was the spark he needed. This was a gift from God. With non-stop training and a change of diet, Novak became a new man. However, the strength wasn’t in the training or the food, the strength was in his mind. He started to believe in himself and the gift that God had given him. This was enough. Novak took the 2011 tennis season by storm, winning three grand slams, and ten majors in total. Countless times, the score was 40: love (love meaning 0 in tennis) for Djokovic; however, the score was always 40:love for God.
It was always 40: love for God because Novak played for God, for his country, and for his people. After every match, he would proudly cross himself while kissing the cross that he always wears around his neck. His success would lift the spirits of people all over the world, not just in his nation. He gave hope to people and truly showed what it meant to be a Christian. Novak’s success allowed him to attain enormous amounts of money. This money went to Serbia, to kids who needed help. Schools started to be renewed, and wherever Novak could help, he would.
His foundation, the Novak Djokovic foundation, has improved the lives of many kids who have been plagued by war, just like Novak. His chain of restaurants and cafes in Serbia has helped the nation as a whole. Somehow, he united a people who for years lost their own sense of togetherness.
For about a year, Novak lost his number one standing, but regained it once again this year. He married his long-time girlfriend, with whom he is now expecting a child. He continues playing, but most of all, he continues helping. His foundation and he, himself, have been a backbone for the country during the recent floods in the Balkans. He continued playing while his country was being torn apart yet again, but he played for them. All the money he won went to flood relief, and he criticized world media for not bringing awareness of the floods to the rest of the world.
With his jokes, good heart, and loving personality, he has won the hearts of many. He has taught everyone that nothing is impossible if you truly believe. This can be seen in a 15-minute segment on the show, “60 minutes.” Most of all, Novak loves everyone and reaches out to everyone, just as a true Christian should. He teaches all of us that nothing is impossible if God is with you. With God, the score is always 40:love.
Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+.