Monday, June 16, 2014

The Church Should Be Like the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs last night for a third straight game totally dismantled the Miami Heat. It was a very impressive display of basketball wizardry! As a basketball fan and player myself I was totally impressed at this team concept and how efficiently they passed the ball and not one player shined greater than another. The player with the highest point average on the team this year was 17 the lowest of a player on a winning team in the finals in the modern shot clock era. This proves the team concept that the San Antonio Spurs have been playing with for the last 15 years.

However I was not as impressed with the excellent basketball and team play as I was with several other aspects that I think make them great. I also wonder if the church might have a look at these areas I noticed last night. As I watched them as a team receive the trophy I thought "the church should be like this!"

1. They are Humble Team Players: 
The first thing that occurred to me while watching the spurs last night was that there is not one single ego on the team. Tim Duncan will be in the Basketball hall of fame one day (and maybe a few other players too), but his Jersey is the 14th Highest selling Jersey in the NBA. Do you think he cares? NO He cares about team, and family, and those around him. I have to say I am actually struggling with this lately. I am struggling with the need to prove myself to everybody. Why do I do that? Why can't I be completely satisfied in My Savior? What if I was a person that was actually completely satisfied in my savior? What if the Church was completely satisfied in Jesus? What if the church was a little more like this? Like Christ actually?
This team is full of unselfish basketball players, they are totally unselfish. They pass the ball better than any other team in the league. Every time I counted the passes in a possession it was always over five passes and when I counted the Heat's passing it was always under 5 usually 2-3 passes per possession. This can only be attributed to team leadership that is also unselfish. From the top down Greg Popovich their coach deflects accolades better than anyone in the NBA. He usually doesn't like to say much to the media, but to his players he demands excellence, humility, and the team concept. What if the Church looked like this? Unselfish, humble, team players?

2. They are Diverse: 
One of the reasons that you have never heard of any of the players on the Spurs is because they are humble team players, and also because they are very diverse. Most of their roster are not Americans. There are only seven Americans on the roster for the Spurs.
There are Italians, Australians, French, Canadians, New Zealanders,  Argentinians, Brazilians and one from St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Americans are outnumbered by the international players for the Spurs. Greg Popovich has found a winning formula with this international community and great diversity. Jesus has also found a winning formula in seeking and redeeming those from every tribe and nation under the sun. As I watched the Spurs celebrate Their win, the flags of all these countries came out. It was a great sight to see all these various countries represented on the platform. I can remember a missions conference in Germany that I attended in which our worship rose to the Lord in many different languages, and then the flags were flying of every European country. It was AWESOME! There were about 30 countries represented. It was almost like the Holy roar that will rise before the throne of God, everyone singing in Heaven one day in their own language (Revelation 7:9). How can we as a church reflect the diversity that will one day encamp around the throne of God worshiping the lamb? Well maybe we could take a lesson from the Spurs and seek to reflect that diversity now.

3. They are Relentless for the Team and Goal:
Since the Spurs should have won the NBA championship last year and were robbed (I guess you can assume how I feel about last year) they have worked tirelessly and gotten better. I would never have been able to believe that from last year when they played
awesome basketball. Somehow they really got better as a basketball team. They truly pounded a great Miami team. How could we as a Church learn from their example? If a bunch of guys can work tirelessly for sport, something that will ultimately fade away, couldn't we as a Church tirelessly put our efforts to work in this world for Christ and His kingdom? I was reminded recently of a poem written by a hero of the faith named C.T. Studd. this is the last stanza of the poem...

Only one life, ’twill soon be past, 
Only what’s done for Christ will last. 
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, 
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

Paul also wrote about giving everything for Christ...

"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:6-8).

These San Antonio Spurs give everything for the goal, the prize, the trophy that will one day not be shiny,
one day not be made of gold, one day not even be there. However, the crown of righteousness will be awarded one day, and if we have lived a humble, faithful, Christ honoring life then the Church will receive that prize that will never fade away!

Church how can we refocus and realign our hearts with the heart of Christ in Humility, embracing Diversity, and being Relentless for Christ? I pray that this emboldens the Church to be what Christ had envisioned for His bride form the beginning. Let us seek Him in these ways so that we can be a most beautiful, appealing, and effective Bride.

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