Offer Them Christ
The Weblog Of J.F. Howard

The Value Of One

            Since it is now time for “March Madness” (one of my favorite times of the year) I would like to tell you a basketball story. My 11th grader and 9th grader play on the same high school basketball team. At the start of the season their team looked small in size, after losing a number of seniors and taller players from a year ago. I thought it might be a long and disappointing season for the guys. As it turned out, they used the speed that came with their lack of size to their advantage and had a very successful season, losing the state championship 86-82 in double overtime.

            Two games in particular stand out to me. On December 16, 2008 the guys played one of their big rivals from Surry County. On this particular night, they played without their starting point guard, Leighton, who was unable to be at the game. Leighton was their primary ball handler, defender, and one of their leading scorers. Without him that night they played out of sync and lost the game 74-53. Afterward, everyone remarked how differently the game would have been had Leighton been there to participate.

            One month later (January 16, 2009) they played Surry County again. This time Leighton was back with the team and sure enough, the outcome was drastically different. They won the game against Surry 87-66. I could not help but notice that both games had been decided by 21 points. I thought to myself after the game, with all things equal, could it be that Leighton’s value to the team was the difference between a 21 point loss and a 21 point win?

            Certainly there were other factors that contributed to the vastly different outcomes in those two games, but something clearly stood out to me: one person can add a lot of value to a team.

            Isn’t that true in the church as well as in sports?

            One of the central truths of the church as well as the sports team is the value that all people add when they participate with others to reach a common goal.

            The Bible puts it this way: “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ…All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 27).

            To put this in sports terms, we are all on the team together. Each one of us has a role to play. We all have a gift to share. If we show up, get in the game, use the talents we have, and offer our gifts for the benefit of the team, we can make a huge difference in the outcome. One person has great value. You have great value!

            Years ago I came across this writing simply titled “One Solitary Life:”

            Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another obscure village, where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he was [a traveling] preacher.

            He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He never set foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness.

            While He was still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends deserted him. He was turned over to his enemies, and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had – his coat.

            When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave.

            [Twenty] centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever sailed, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of people on this earth as powerfully as this “One Solitary Life.”

                        –Author: James A. Francis (edited)

            Your “one solitary life” has value for the church today. When the time comes for your church to get in the game, will you be there for your team?

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