Thursday, March 06, 2008

No Sacrifice No Victory

“I play to enjoy myself, some people take this the wrong way, but winning a championship is not what I base everything on. I was given an opportunity to play basketball, travel around and have fun doing it and that’s what I want to do. I wouldn’t take being unhappy and not being myself and winning. I would rather enjoy myself with 18,000-20,000 people watching the game and the people sending fan mail and those things and be happy…I didn’t come here to play the point guard, that’s just it. I came here to run the wing, just like he was running the other wing. I was asked to sacrifice for the team to win and for everybody, I guess, get paid. That is what was told to me and I wasn’t happy with that.”

-Larry Hughes about his playing days with the Cavs

I don't know Larry Hughes. I don't know his situation so I am taking his words at face value. I'd like to summarize what I hear him saying:

1. I don't care if I win a championship

2. I want to play basketball and travel.

3. I don't like being unhappy.

4. If I am unhappy I will not give my best.

5. If I am asked to sacrifice I will not because it will make me unhappy.

6. I like being happy and anything that interferes with that I will leave or not try my best.

This may sound too simplistic but I don't think so. Larry simply echoes human nature. If things are going well I am in. If they are not, I am out of here. I am sure Larry at some point will say that all this was taken out of context. This is also too often the attitude of many Christians. Let me resummarize the list with the attitude of many Christians in mind:

1. I don't care if the Kingdom of God is advanced.

2. I want to enjoy church services, church fellowship and occasionally a Bible Study that does not talk about sacrifice.

3. I don''t like being unhappy.

4. If sacrifice is part of the deal I'm not in.

5. Sacrifice sounds like it will make me unhappy so I will not do it.

6. If my church asks me to sacrifice I am leaving because I want to be somewhere that makes me happy.

We would have to largerly ignore most of the New Testament if we believe that our highest goal and God's ultimate purpose for us is to be happy. We'd have to ignore statements such as:

Take up your cross and follow me.

A seed must go into the ground and die.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

We cannot escape the example of Jesus and we cannot ignore His call to sacrifice. To do so would disqualify us from experiencing the very nature of Christ.

Let the Sparks Fly!

Paul Turner

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