The story of Jesus Christ is the greatest story ever and Christmas is a big part of it. So instead of another tip, I want to share story with you this week.
It was Christmas day, 1985, and I couldn’t wait to get in the gym. I was a senior at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, NJ. Our basketball coach had given us a couple days off for the holidays. But I didn’t want a couple days off from playing basketball. I didn’t even want a single day off.
I wasn’t alone. My teammates, Chris, Grant, and Tony, felt the same way. We were gym rats. We loved going to the gym to work on our game. Chris was our point guard and knew the game like the back of his hand. Grant was an easy going forward who loved to tell jokes. And Tony could shoot the lights out from anywhere on the court. Thankfully, Tony had keys to the tiny old gym at the Catholic Junior High School in town. We decided to meet there that afternoon.
After opening presents with my family, I drove my parents station wagon across town and met the guys at the gym. There were a lot of gyms in my hometown. Between the high school, 2 junior highs, elementary schools, YMCA, and the Catholic school, there were well over a dozen. If you were looking for me back then, chances are you would have found me in a gym.
We spent a couple hours that Christmas afternoon playing ball. It felt good to break a sweat and knock down some shots. It always felt good. I craved shooting a basketball like someone on a diet craves an ice cream sundae, or an exhausted man craves his bed. I couldn’t get enough of it. The day or time did not matter. I just wanted to play ball.
Back then basketball was the most important thing to me. I said it was God, but that simply wasn’t true. My desire to be great at basketball ruled my life.
Fast forward to today. I still love basketball, but it no longer rules my life. The Lord Jesus Christ does. Now instead of a basketball in my hands on Christmas day, I will have the Word of God. I crave knowing and understanding the Word like I used to crave shooting a basketball.
Sports has always been a big part of my life. If you’re reading my tips, you’re probably like me. But I took it too far. When I was in high school and college, I wanted to be the next Larry Bird! Then, after college I got into coaching and I wanted to be the next John Wooden! Finally, when I entered the world of sports broadcasting, I wanted to become the next Bob Costas. It was never about what the Lord was doing in my life, it was always about me.
Setting high goals and wanting to be great at something is admirable. But ultimately, the greatest goal is to know and love the Lord. I will probably be watching a few minutes of basketball on TV on Christmas day, but the focus for me and my family will be celebrating the birth of Christ.
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me.”
Jeremiah 9: 23-24