Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lessons from the Basketball Court

5 seconds on the shot clock, score is tied, ball is in bounded, I come a round a high screen, I shoot, the ball seems to float off my finger tips, a perfect rotation, locked onto the basket, and swishes through the net with the sweetest whisper. The crowd goes wild! Yeah, I wish! For the last couple of months, I have been playing basketball at the YMCA, nothing like the heart thumping scene described above. In my early morning hoop sessions, I have come to learn some important lessons about not only my role on a 5 man pick up team, but about my role as a member of the Body of Christ.

So here is what I know about my basketball skills; I can make a 3 pointer in warm ups, but not in a game, I handle a basketball like I have two left hands, and I am as fast as an old hobbled horse. Now, I have found some things that I am good at, I can move the ball around to the open person so they can make the buzzer beater, I can set screen and picks for my team mates so they can get an open shot, I can rebound and box out, if I am in the paint, I have a really good chance of making a basket and my biggest strength, I am really good at fouling! I have come to these conclusions after many early 6 am mornings, running up and down the court. I have tried to be the 3 point shooter and hitting brick after brick, have cost my team a win. I have also tried to be the point guard and end up turning the ball over like a stack of pancakes, costing our team a win, and I have tried to shoot the winning shot in order to be the big shot and turning the ball over again! Lord, I will give the ball up next time! On the other hand, when I dish the ball off, my team mates seem to score more. When I set picks and screens, my team mates seem to swish it more! When I let them make the shots and let them be the hero, they seem to finish! What I have determined, is when I play, I am a better assest when I support the others around me. Now there our times when there is an opportunity to score by utilizing one of my strengths and I will take it. I fully give credit for any of my basketball skills to God as well as thank him for any of my weaknesses. Playing for team Jesus, I too have been given spiritual gift as well as every one who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Paul, in Ephesian 4 talks about receiving Spiritual gifts from God:
7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why it[a] says:
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."[b]
9(What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]?
10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

I need to exercise the gifts that God has given to me so that Glory is given to God and not myself. I need to be careful not to seek gifts that glorify
myself for that comes from Satan. Paul, in Romans 12 says,
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment,
in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously;
if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
As a family, I, you, should also encourage others to practice and exercise their gifts as well. If you are sitting on the fence wondering if you should step out in faith to exercise your gift, walk in faith and with courage, for in Christ, all things are possible. Don't hide your gift, your talents, for we will one day have to account for our actions.

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