I was watching an exciting game a couple nights ago, Chapel Hill Black against Chapel Hill Maroon. The game came down to the last quarter, and there was only a four point difference with about four minutes to go. There was a lot of excellent playing. Eric hit some one-hand jump-hooks, Jonathan had several excellent drives to the hole, Skyler got a bunch of rebounds and the Nathans (three of them (2 black team and 1 maroon team) and Kyler were hustling all over the place.
David was unbelievable. He was scrapping on the floor for loose balls. He was taking on guys way taller than him and winning the rebound battle. He was driving down "among the trees" and "kissing the rock off the glass." He had a bunch of takeaways on defense and he was shooting from inside and outside on "O."
What a game! Back in my day we would have called it "unconscious."
I sat near David's dad and mom during part of the game, and I'm not sure they even knew David had this kind of game in him. At one point I simply had to take my hat and whack David's dad over the head with it.
After the game I walked over to congratulate David, and his mom said something like, "This is David's last season to get to play at Chapel Hill (David's a sixth grader)." In other words, David doesn't want to have look back at his last season of B-ball at CHCS and think, "I didn't give it my best." He wants to leave all his hustle and effort on the floor and walk away knowing he gave everything.
A famous basketball coach named John Wooden would never let his players compare themselves to other players. He always asked them to give their own "personal best" night after night. David would have made Coach Wooden smile on Monday night.
All this "personal best" stuff got me to thinkin' about Jesus. In II Corinthians 5:21 the Apostle Paul was talking about how Jesus gave His "personal best:" "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus died for our sin; He took on our sin; and He took all the wrath of God against sin. He did that after living a perfect life - a "personal best."
Now how should we respond to that? Sort of like - how should we "congratulate Jesus after His game?" Paul wrote about it just above the verse I was just talking about: "God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us."
What's all that mean? Just this. We are to respond to Jesus by entering into a friendship with Him. We do this by accepting what He has done by His death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Then we live our lives to tell others the good news of this! We are His agents on His mission!
Better pray! Dear Jesus, thank You for giving Yourself for us. And thank You for giving Your "personal best." Live inside of us and live Your life through us, so we can look back knowing we too, gave our "personal best" as a way to show You our love. Then send us out onto "Your floor to play in Your big game of life as Your player." Help us leave it "all on the floor!" In Jesus' name, Amen.
Proud of You,
PS At the end of His life Jesus prayed, "Father, I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do." Wouldn't it be great to be able to pray that?