Image result for are you serious clipartLast night, the middle school basketball team I am coaching had its first game. It was an exciting time as we began our new season. Unfortunately, we did lose. However, that is not the story here. Our head coach is an eighth grade history teacher and takes academics very seriously. Any of you who have played school sports, or had a child play, knows that there are academic requirements for eligibility. Our school’s policy regarding academic eligibility is pretty low. Therefore, we have asked our players to have grades that exceed the normal requirements, and we have told them that there will be consequences for poor grades. We have known since try outs that several players have had grade issues, and it hasn’t meant a whole lot to the players since we have just been practicing. Coach and I have tried to remind our players to keep their grades up or else consequences will come. Well, I guess some players had to learn it the hard way…

We have thirteen players on our team, which by the way, I really like our team. However, six players and our two managers have some serious grade issues. Two of the six would probably be starters. Right before the game, the head coach was discussing this with our team, and two players scrambled to find teachers before tipoff to verify their grades were satisfactory, so we actually had nine available to play. The remaining four sat and watched the entire game realizing we were serious about the importance of grades. One was obviously upset at himself, and one owned up to his poor performance and effort in the classroom hurting the team as well as one particular teammate.

Watching those four middle school boys reminded me of how God has clearly laid some things out for us in the Bible and yet we respond with such incredulity. In Ecclesiastes chapter 12 verses 13 and 14, the Teacher (we presume as Solomon) tells us, “…Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” There are consequences for our behavior, both good and bad, but we are not supposed to be scared of God. I once heard Jonathan Evans at a men’s conference describe the fear of God as a combination of reverence and being scared. Evans said, “You take these two ideas, put them in a blender, and what you get is taking God seriously.” God says what He means and He means what He says. God says some tough things in the Bible, but He also says some pretty awesome things. Let’s remember to take God seriously – in both the warnings and the blessings. So, unlike our four ineligible players did with us, as God’s people let’s not wait to see if God is really serious or not. Let’s take Him at His Word – His entire Word! Anyway, I was just thinking…

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