This past week I was able to sit under some great teaching at the annual Youth Evangelism Association convention. As I listened and took notes, one presenter greatly caught my attention. His name is George Kell. He is the executive director of the Harrisburg Christian Performing Arts Center in Harrisburg, PA. (You should Google them and check out the amazing work that is going on there!)
George caught my attention with the following statement: “Basketball begins when basketball ends.” (He also stated that acting does the same thing.) Yes, I know it is a Monday and I am asking you to think philosophically – but it is a worthy journey.
George went on to explain that practices (rehearsals) are the time to think about what you are doing; to get the technical side of things down. But when the ball or curtain goes up it should be so natural that you no longer have to think through it but instead just play…
When I think about the greatest players I have ever watched or coached, they all had one thing in common – the game seemed almost effortless – just a natural extension of who they are.
So how does a great athlete/actor get to that point? The playbook/script has to become second nature. The movements have to become part of who he/she is. He/she has to come to a place of a new identity founded in the position/character.
(George used sports along with the arts in his teaching because he recognizes that those two venues make up the “2 Great Universal Languages.”)
George likened basketball unto doing improve on stage. He mentioned that “the stage is only a scary place if you know that you are you.”
So what does all of this have to do with a weekly devotion? Glad you asked!
Have you ever heard the phrase that “all the world is a stage”? With that idea in mind I also remind you that it can be a very scary place. Yet only if you know you are you…
The Bible has called us as believers to have a role on this stage that honors the Lord. As a church we emphasize this through calling people to a life that avoids some things and also adds some things (the “thou shalts and thou shalt nots.) In other words we design the “plays” and ask our “players” to follow the plan.
Unfortunately this approach is often very lacking. It reminds me of watching youth teams learning plays; each player running to a predetermined place on the floor at a predetermined time; and very few of the players having any idea of why they are going there.
I could go on and on about this but I will try to get to the point.
If we, as believers – players on God’s team, want to play out our role on earth in a way that brings honor to the Lord, we need to stop just going through the motions. We need to study the “playbook” intently and in doing so we need to study our Savior intently. We need to see not only how He lived but also why He did it. We need to seek to not just conform to His life but to be transformed by His Word and life (Romans 12:1-2). We need to step out onto the world’s stage unafraid – because it is not us but Christ living through us. We need to have the “thou shalts and thou shalt nots” be a natural flow of who we are.
Christian living begins when living ends.
Galatians 2: 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”