Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Thunder Fever and the Need to Contribute

Piedmont is experiencing Thunder Fever just like most of the metro area (and the rest of the state for that matter).  My kids got me a blue Thunder Finals shirt for Father's Day and I put it on for game three of the finals series that night.

Unfortunately, we lost the game.  I hesitated wearing it for game four; wanting to change up my habits in case it had become unlucky.  I mean we shot 62% from the free throw line that night when the season average was 82%.  Twenty percent is a major dip that cost us the game!

Okay, I realize that my new shirt didn't lose us the game.

And since I wanted to show my appreciation to my kids, I wore it again last night.

James Harden, NBA's Sixth Man
of the Year by Keith Allison, wikicommons
But then James Harden shot only 20% in that game after shooting 49% for the season.  Now we are facing elimination on Thursday night.

I along with many other folks around Oklahoma are a little bummed.

So the question is: do I wash the Thunder shirt and wear it again tomorrow or do I leave it in the laundry pile?

Human beings feel the need to contribute to the outcomes that affect their lives.  We don't like feeling helpless.  We don't like simply watching the world go by.

But unless we fly to Miami, buy a ticket and cheer wildly for the Thunder, we are likely not effecting the game play much of our favorite team.  Oh sure, you can talk overall morale of the team being infected by the enthusiasm of the environment they live in but in the big picture, we are not taking those shots.

As a pastor, I see the similarities with God's grace.  We want so much to earn our grace. We want to be worthy recipients.  We want to tip God's hand into acting on our behalf. But in the end, grace is God's to dispense.

In the parable of the weeds and the wheat, Jesus suggests that we are not to determine who is worthy but that we should leave this job up to God.

I've had people ask me "why" in regards to illness or loss in their lives.  Some feel guilty over some sin they had committed and wonder if the two things are connected.

Jesus seemed to answer this as well by talking about the people who died when a tower fell on them.  He said they weren't being punished for their sins.  It just happened.

That's our trouble.  We don't like it when things just happen.  We like to pretend we are in control.

But sometimes superstars miss free throws.

Sometimes referees miss calls.

And for good or bad, I'm along for the ride in spite of the fact that I won't have an effect on the outcome of the next game.

But I may not have time to do laundry before it gets here...

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