Competitive Basketball, etc.
“When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Cor. 10:12).
“You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor” (Ezek. 28:17).
After last night’s experiment, NOT EVEN KEEPING SCORE! and this morning’s time with the Master, it seems pretty obvious that the basketball tournament that we did is about like going into a nasty place with the intentions of not having a problem with eyes and heart... Someone could “theorize” that it ought to be “possible” to assign teams and play a season and tournament, but would that same someone “theorize” that the evil place thing “could” work also? Why mess around, making “provision” (setting yourself up) for sin, as the Holy Spirit has said?
Personally, I wasn’t convinced that this sort of competition was such a problem until last night. It always seemed “fixable.” Yet, after every creative effort anyone could think of (referees, no scorekeeping, defense calls the fouls, pep talks galore, etc.)... it truly appears that the CONCEPT of serious competition between Believers is FUNDAMENTALLY wrong. That is revelation to me, as of last night. No scorekeeping, for pity’s sake! Amazing. Perhaps the Sunday “pick-up games” are somewhat different, but I’m sure everyone would agree, to a man, that we didn’t do each other much good out there in the highly competitive environment. A “learning experience.” : )
Consequently, such “discoveries” about public swimming situations, etc. that came as an unexpected “wake up call”—seem similar to me to those of our little “league” experiment.
There are FUNDAMENTAL errors in setting ourselves up for serious competition, and the odds of avoiding sin, no matter HOW well-intentioned, are very slim. It can’t be worth it to set things up where many can sin, with limited or no value to be derived from the event, anyway.
Perhaps the highly competitive and physical environment, comparing ourselves to each other in sports, is corrupting our wisdom, as the Scriptures above would indicate. Even if Jesus could have handled playing in situations where bumps and bangs and one hundred controversial calls per game were the norm, would He have set Himself up to cause Peter to stumble that way? Would Jesus have allowed the relationship between He and Peter to be jeopardized or diminished for the sake of a meaningless game? I’m sure you’d agree, it couldn’t be worth the chance that the important things would be hindered by the unimportant.
Energy and Focus Diversion Away From Kingdom Work?
“Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mat. 6:33).
And He told them this parable: The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, “‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God (Lk. 12:16-21).
How many that played during the “season” can think of events and opportunities for JESUS that received that much fervor during those same three months we were playing the basketball series? Can we NAME the people and situations that we put that much time and energy into for spiritual purposes? If not, perhaps we should start THERE. That’s what we’re here for. That’s what we’re living for. Until last night, I might have thought that if a particular person is NOT putting effort into praying with others, seeking to save that which is lost, energetically pouring their lives out for others... until last night I would have thought that to be an isolated, individual problem. Now it appears to me that some measure of the blame should go to bad building practices of “energy leaks” (maybe other sorts of things, such as extremes in movies and videos also?) that promote carnality and loss of time, as well as the corruption of Wisdom.
Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process?” (Lk. 9:23-25).
The Sports Page?
“He must always keep this copy of the Scriptures with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the LORD his God by obeying all the terms of God’s law. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud.... It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. This will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel” (Deu. 17:18-20).
I wonder if the expert knowledge of the sports page that many of us have acquired is really God’s Heart for the use of precious and rare resources of head and heart “space,” as well as time? What do you think?
Well, if you skimmed all of this, please start over and read it carefully, including the scriptures that may seem familiar to you so you felt like you could read them quickly. Take some time with this and consider the things that you and all of us will want to do differently as we start our new life today.
Today presents herself to you with the dew of the dawn, clean and fresh and new... She is in your hands, and moldable... earnestly hoping that all who would touch her might have learned something from yesterday....
I hope I have....
In His Love,