This past Saturday, I gave the devotions at halftime during the various games at our church. Today, I wanted to post a blog based somewhat on the various devotions I shared, which in turn were based loosely upon a chapter of a book by R. McKenzie Fisher.
Mr. Fisher has published a wonderful set of devotional books based on sports. Among them are Lessons from the Gridiron, Lessons from the Fairway, Lessons from the Diamond, and Lesson from the Hardwood. Obviously, these make use of various anecdotes from the worlds of football, golf, baseball, and basketball respectively. It is “Lesson Three” in this last work that inspired my thoughts for the day.
When many of us think of the National Basketball Association, we tend to think of a select few athletes who have become household names. For instance, Bill Russell has the record for most championships with 11; Wilt Chamberlain has the records for most points per game with 100, highest points per game average at 50.4, and most rebounds in a game with 55; Kareem Abdul Jabbar has the record for the most points in a career at 38,387; and Michael Jordan has the record for most scoring titles at 10.
Basketball, however, is not an individual sport, but rather a team sport. For this reason, other records, even if less well known, are equally deserving of recognition. Among them are the records for assists. And several of those records belong to a far less well known individual.
Scott Skiles actually holds two NBA records for assists. He has the most career assists at 15,806, and also the most assists in a single game at 30.
Of course, the whole notion of an assist is not nearly as glamorous as other components of the game. Rarely do fans stand and scream their approval for an assist the same way they do for a "slam dunk" or a three point shot that results in "nothing but net".
And yet, quite often, these dazzling plays would not even unfold without one player's willingness to make a sacrifice that enables his teammate to shine. You see, at the end of the day, an assist is simply the decision to make a sacrifice, to pass up the chance to score in order to allow one’s colleague to do so instead.
And that is the nature of sacrifice. It is rarely acknowledged; yet it is often essential for success. Which brings me to my point: Jesus Christ undertook the ultimate sacrifice. From the world’s perspective, what He did was of little note. And yet, from eternity’s perspective, His willingness to lay down his life on behalf of the sins of men and women is incalculable.
Thank God therefore for his Son. And for His Son’s brilliant “assist”. For without His sacrificial death, we would have no hope of forgiveness of sin, of eternal life, of redemption, of full restoration to our Creator, or of a home in Heaven.
Surely that deserves acknowledgement. Surely that deserves recognition. Surely that deserves praise. For this reason, I conclude with the fitting words of the Apostle Paul (in his first New Testament letter to Timothy, chapter 6, verses 14-16) in praise of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, when he said:
"Our Lord Jesus Christ…the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords…to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen"
SOURCES: You can read more about Upward Sports at: http://www.upward.org/about.
R. McKenzie Fisher’s books were all published in 1995-1996 by New Leaf Press, Green Forest, AR. They are available, new and used, in bookstores nationwide.
Cf. also: http://uproxx.com/dimemag/10-of-the-most-unbreakable-records-in-nba-history/.
Note: Paul’s various New Testament doxologies can be found listed at: http://www.believersmagazine.com/bm.php?i=20080710.