She picked up the ball at the opposing team’s free throw line and galloped toward our goal. Finnley had her head held high as she dribbled down the court speeding ahead of the charge of the defenders. Under control and with great confidence she came to a solid jump stop on the baseline. With the ball in hand and eye on the basket, she bent her knees, raised her arms, and let the shot go. The leather orb spun through the air with a perfect backspin and swished through the net. The crowd went wild. A smile a mile wide filled her face, and her dad, the coach, cheered in proud proclamation. It has been a great joy to coach Finnley’s basketball team with the Upward Sports program. It has been fun to see each one grow in his and her skills and also come together as a team of friends. During our training event, the directors highly stressed focusing on different levels of success rather than just winning games. The league we play in does not keep a score at the games. Yes, there is great excitement when baskets are made, but that is not the only measure of success that we have been encouraged to recognize. Successes are made with each catch, pass, controlled-dribble, matching up with the correct player on defense, and even running toward the correct goal. Success is recognized for having good sportsmanship and exhibiting Christ like attitudes.
The disciples walking down the road to Emmaus were expecting a Messiah who would successfully redeem them through power, force, and victory over their enemies. Jesus came to show that salvation would come rather through sacrifice. Jesus conquered the world through humility, service, and love. How do you measure success in your life? I encourage you to put your hope in the Lord and to pursue service as a way of life. Serving both God and others above yourself, will bring happiness to your life in ways that serving only yourself could never bring. This will be a different way of living, but it is by this way of love that the world will know that you are of God and on his winning team.
Bryan Johnston, North Bend, Oregon (USA) Church of Christ.