What Do Jesus and Basketball Have in Common?

Elder Notes

Jesus lived His life "on mission." He knew exactly why He was on earth and what His purpose here was. From the time He was young and stayed behind from His parents in the temple to His completed work on the cross, He lived on mission. He was always about the will of His father. That's a great model for us. We should all live our lives on mission.

What does that have to do with basketball? More than 100 years ago, basketball was invented by a Christian theologian as an evangelistic outreach tool. James Naismith was living on mission. Naismith took the daily routine of his job and made it his mission. He decided that he had a better chance of exemplifying the Christian life through sports rather than preaching. So he took a job as a physical education director at the YMCA in Springfield, MA. His vision was to win men for the Master through the gym. 

In 1891, Naismith set out to invent a new indoor sports game that students could play in the winter. He spent weeks testing various games including soccer, football, and lacrosse but to no avail. Naismith decided to draw on all these sports with a ball that could be easily handled, play that involved running and passing but with no tackling, and a goal at each end of the floor. And there you have it. James Naismith invented basketball as a part of his everyday work and life. 

Each of us is called to live our lives on mission for Him. While we may not invent anything, just like Jesus, we have a mission to fulfill. Matthew 28:18 says to "Go and make disciples..." That would be better translated "As you are going, make disciples...." As we live our lives, be on mission. One of Jesus' final statements on the cross was "It is finished." That wasn't a statement so much that His life was over but a statement that His mission was accomplished. He had paid our debt in full. How can you be on mission today?

See you this weekend.


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