It Ain’t Easy, But It Is Simple

Middle School basketball is over…Last Thursday, we had our last game, and won – we beat this team for the third time this season. It was a great way to end the season, but I couldn’t help thinking back to our game two days earlier on that Tuesday. We lost to a team that was definitely not as good as we were. At the beginning of the season we selected thirteen players (nine eighth graders and four seventh graders) and our two managers were two seventh graders who almost made the team. Of those thirteen we suited up five (four seventh graders and one eighth grader) and then suited up one of our managers for that Tuesday night game for a total of six. One player broke his thumb and was out. One player just disappeared on us. Both would have been academically ineligible anyway. One was sick, but would have been academically ineligible anyway. The other five traveled and some dressed but did not play because of grade issues. Two of the five did not dress because they kept the scorer’s book because our manager was actually suited up, and did end up playing some, and our other manager was not at the game. That manager was also failing one of his classes…

This was a common situation all season long. Not to this magnitude, but it was a common issue. All this is described not to pick on the boys or make some big statement about us as coaches. The real story is why the boys were not eligible. The best illustration is from one boy in particular who was failing his English class. He came in that Tuesday after school upset because he knew he would not be able to play that night. He was complaining about how he was going to turn in a project but the teacher was not at school that day. I acknowledged that the situation was indeed unfortunate. But then I followed that expression with a question, “When was the project due?” The answer is similar to what we have heard all season, “Friday…” It was Tuesday. He was upset that he could not turn in the project on Tuesday because his teacher was not there then, but the project itself was due on Friday and he did not turn it in. I told him that I understood his frustration but he should have turned it in on time. Then he proceeded to talk to me on the bench during the game about how he had let the team down.

This scenario reminds me of an idea that is mentioned over and over again in the Bible, obey God and He will bless you. In one particular passage in Luke 11, Jesus is challenged about being demon possessed and is trying to teach the people when a women calls out to Him saying His mother is blessed and in Luke chapter 11 verse 28, Jesus responds saying, “Blessed rather are those hear the word of God and obey it.” This is not a “name it claim it” argument or trying to say that as a follower of Jesus everything will be perfect or easy for you in life or that you have to earn salvation. It is rather a simple reminder that God makes it very clear for us on how to be in good relationship with Him. Just like the boys on our basketball team learned, the hard way, you turn in the work you get good grades (assuming you actually did it) – you obey God, He has blessings in store for you. Like school work, it is not always easy but it is simple. Anyway, I was just thinking…


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