Who needs the daily drama of soap operas when we’ve got professional sports? We have superstars, intrigue, passion, and money — and that’s just the NBA.
Last week was the National Basketball Association draft, and as if that wasn’t drama enough, during the next few weeks free agents will be searching for new teams, new contracts, and new prospects.
“Like sands through the hourglass…”
I can’t miss my stories. And this time of year, the stories are happening off the court.
If the draft brings back memories of picking teams on the playground, free agency flips the script. Instead of the team picking the player, the player picks the team.
But the free agent isn’t free. Far from it. Whatever the sport may be, a free agent looks for the best deal. I’m not here to argue about whether or not this is good for the sport, I’m just an interested fan who likes to watch the story unfold … and learn a little at the same time.
Free agency isn’t just for elite athletes because sports aren’t the only venue where we search for the best fit. Whether it’s a new suit or a new SUV, we’re always looking for a new fit. Nothing wrong with that mindset when you’re shopping around.
But good shopping doesn’t always make good spirituality.
When we search for meaning and purpose, we ask free-agent questions like, “What’s in this for me?” Or, “Where is the place where my talents can be most appreciated and I can become the best person possible?”
Everyone asks these sort of questions. And the last place where many people think answers can be found is the church.
To many, the church is that team perpetually stuck in the cellar. The home of last-place, lovable losers who never contend for a title.
That depends on your version of winning.
Jesus is no loser but to many His life looks like an “L.” From humble beginnings and a lower-class family. A common laborer by trade. His dream team was a group of 12 guys who never dreamed of being anyone’s varsity. An itenerant preacher who associated with villains, and riled up religious leaders. Executed between two common criminals. Dead at 33.
He was no free agent. He remained loyal to His Father, even when it cost Him His life. He wasn’t kicked off the team. He became the franchise.
What looked like defeat was really a victory over sin and death, two previously undefeated opponents. Jesus offers victory through surrender. His win seemed like defeat 2,000 years ago and to some people it still does today. But to those who believe, God gives the right to become His children.
And, a child in a loving family doesn’t need to shop around for another place to take his talents. But we still do it. That’s a telling sign of how broken we are: we don’t know a good deal when we see it.
God has offered us a blockbuster. Innocence that replaces our guilt. Forgiveness. A starting role on the most storied superteam ever assembled. His offer has nothing to do with our amazing abilities and everything to do with the accomplishments of our team leader.
When we sign on with Jesus, we trust the process that He uses to change us into new people.
No need to shop around for something better.
— Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna.