For years I toiled under the weight of a “works” oriented salvation. I believed that to please God I had to work to earn His favor and His grace. When I did good things I believed my deeds were pleasing to God and, for the moment, I had gained His favor. But, when I sinned (and I did. A lot) I believed, even when I repented, God would make me pay with some consequence or retribution. I considered it, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
It was a miserable way to live. I went about my day trying to figure out what the
shoe would be. Would it hurt? Would it drop when I least expected it? Would it drop when I was enjoying pleasant times? Would it drop on my friends? When it dropped would my friends abandon me? Would it grieve me or cause me emotional pain? Would I suffer?
Then in August, 2000, I learned my true identity in Christ. God showed me His grace and taught me I didn’t have to pay for any or all the sins I committed. He told me, “They’re all already paid for. Stop waiting for that shoe and let me show you how much I love you.”
I’ve never worried about that shoe again.
By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
Many interesting life lessons were learned from this past basketball season. Many coaches and teams can testify that you can get overconfident and be upset. Many learned that there is no such thing a sure win in the “big dance.” Coach Ron Hunter from Georgia State learned that you can get injured on the bench if you celebrate too much!
On February 18, 2015, I wrote about Coach Dean Smith and things he taught as a coach. On October 29, 2014, I wrote about a new hero of mine, Lauren Hill. She scored the first basket of the college basketball season. She is on hospice, but still alive and doing God’s will. Both of these blogs are archived on my website.
Here are two more powerful lessons I learned from this past year:
When Austin Hatch was 11-years-old he survived a plane crash that killed his mother and two siblings. Would you believe that eight years later another plane crashed and killed his father and stepmother and left Hatch in a coma?
Austin wanted to play college basketball. As a 20-year-old he finally realized his dream when he walked on at the University of Michigan. He scored his first points when he sank a couple of free throws. He said, “My past won’t define my future. What happened to me is kind of unique, but that’s what happened. That’s not who I am.”
Our past should not define our future. If our past is tragic and bad and disappointing, God’s gives us a new chance and a new hope for the future. If our past was extremely successful, we can’t rest on the laurels of the past but have to move on to what God is calling us to do today. Our past should never define our future. The Apostle Paul said, “Forgetting the things that lie behind, and reaching for the things that are before, I press on toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Coach Kevin Willard is the coach at Seton Hall. He did not have a really good season as he was 16-14 and 6-12 in the Big East when he played Georgetown. He desperately needed a win. There was some talk that his job was in jeopardy.
Georgetown had a player by the name of Tyler Adams. Tyler came to Georgetown on a scholarship, but developed a heart ailment and couldn’t play. Georgetown’s final game was with Seton Hall and the NCAA granted a waiver for Tyler Adams to play.
At the opening tip Seton Hall fell back and allowed Adams to dunk his first goal in college basketball. He then was taken out of the game and left with an emotional exit. Georgetown did not know that Seton Hall would purposely let Adams score the first goal.
It was a class act on the part of Coach Willard! Seton Hall went on to lose the game by only 4 points. He received some criticism for allowing Georgetown to get 2 easy points. He said that it was more important for Tyler Adams to have a memory of his only game in college basketball than it was for him to get a win. That is class! The Bible says that we should esteem others better than ourselves.
In life winners are not those who score the most points, but those who score the most with their lives. If you want to advance through the brackets of life, learn and practice these lessons taught by Austin Hatch, Kevin Willard, Dean Smith, and Lauren Hill.
The “big dance” takes on a new meaning. David relates how in Psalm 30:11God “turned our morning into dancing.” The wisdom of Solomon is expressed in Ecclesiastes 3:4 when he tells us that it is a time to dance. Austin, Kevin, Dean, and Lauren are pretty good dance teachers!
John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
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