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Soccer Goalies Take Responsibility for Their 'Box'

When all three of my (Matt Woodley) boys started playing soccer I had to quickly learn the rules—like what is off sides, and what's a handball, and what's the difference between a yellow card and a red card? But ever since my son Wesley started playing goalie I developed a particular fondness for what's called "The Penalty Area."

The Penalty Area—sometimes called the Penalty Box or just The Box—is an 18-yard x 18-yard area marked off with a thick white chalk line right by each goal on the soccer field. Most goalies call it "The Goalie Box," or just "My Box" for short. That may sound arrogant but in a way it is their box. Within that box they have an amazing privilege and superpower that no other soccer player has—a goalie can use his hands! But the goalie also has an awesome responsibility—to protect the goal for his entire team. He is the last line of defense.

Good goalies have a certain attitude about their box. When they talk about the goalie box they'll say things like, "This is my box. No, this is my house, and I'll take care of business in my house." It's not arrogant; it's just a recognition that as a goalie they have a special superpower and special responsibilities in this box, this area, this zone.

Now not everyone has to like soccer, and not everyone that likes soccer has to be a goalie, but let me put it this way: every follower of Jesus has a box, a zone where God has placed you for a special purpose with a special calling. It is the place where you have influence. It's partially based on where you live and work. But it also includes the network of relationships and opportunities that you have to love people, serve people, share the gospel with people.

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