“Buy kids for what they’re worth and sell them for what their parents think they are worth.” Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Don Meyer
I laughed so hard when I heard those words come out of Coach’s mouth during a clinic. It amazed me that even he as a college coach was dealing with calls from parents to play their kids more. It amazed me when I was still coaching how many parents never bothered to ask why their kid wasn’t playing and instead assumed that I was playing favorites and cheating their kids…
Well the reality was that I did have favorites. I loved the kids that worked hard! I loved the kids that cared about the team! I loved the kids that bought into the game plan! I loved the kids that were willing to do what was asked of them (even if it didn’t result in glory)!
[Don’t get me wrong – I also loved the kids that didn’t do those things – I just didn’t play them!]
To be honest I was reminded of these things this morning as I was sweeping up some confetti from our church’s Easter party this weekend. Man, did we celebrate the resurrection! There was a great message, incredible music, balloons, streamers, confetti cannons, etc. Man, did we have a mess left over! (…enough that one of the guys helping clean this morning brought the blower into the auditorium to ease the process.)
As I bent over to pick up a few pieces I flashed back to the patio of one of our buildings at Florida Bible College. I was a freshman working in the high school outreach and looking forward to the times I would speak and sing at the rallies; and there I was on the patio picking up cups after vacuuming the room we had met in. I remember thinking I should be in more of a “starring role” on the “team.” Shortly after that my pastor, Gordon Rhoden, shared his testimony of working in youth outreaches and learning to “pick up cups to the glory of God.” He had learned to play his role and buy into the game plan; and I needed to learn the same. I can clearly remember learning to clean up with a purpose… and this morning I whispered a prayer to God that I would glorify Him in my efforts.
To be honest there are still days that I find myself trying taking inventory of who I am and what role I am “playing” on the “team.” At times my pride leads me to think I should be in a more prominent role… making more money… driving the Jeep Wrangler of my dreams… etc. And then after this morning’s flashback, I sat down in my office doing some reading and was reminded of this passage: Matthew 20
Let me set the scene: in verse 20 the mother of James and John (the sons of Zebedee) approaches Jesus and in verse 21 ask Him to elevate her sons’ status above the others. (Even Jesus had to deal with overzealous parents.) Basically Jesus lets her know that she doesn’t really know what she is asking. And then the Scriptures record that the other apostles were irked by this, as they undoubtedly wanted to be in “starring roles.” (See verse 24)
Jesus then goes on to tell them that he understands the world seeks power and glory but the secret to being great in the kingdom…
26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your slave - 27 Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
(And I can’t help but think of the story where the Apostles are debating who will be greatest in the kingdom and Jesus rises from the Last Supper and proceeds to take the role of a servant by washing their feet… Commentator John Morris wrote that they were “ready to fight for a throne, but not for a towel!”)
Bottom line is that I want to be great! I don’t want to be a “benchwarmer”! Yet I must understand that it comes through kneeling in service not in standing on platforms! I want to faithfully and clearly share when given a platform; while being content to pick up confetti…