SCRIPTURE: Matthew 22:42 (NIV)
Jesus said, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
Suffering from terminal spinal cancer at the age or 47, former North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke with a reporter. He looked back on his life and told a story about himself as a 23-year-old coach of a small college team. "Why is winning so important to you?" the players asked Valvano.
"Because the final score defines you," he said, "You lose, ergo, you're a loser. You win, ergo, you're a winner."
"No," the players insisted. "Participation is what matters. Trying your best, regardless of whether you win or lose -- that's what defines you."
It took 24 more years of living. It took the coach bolting up from the mattress three or four times a night with his T-shirt soaked with sweat and his teeth rattling from the fever chill of chemotherapy and the terror of seeing himself die repeatedly in his dreams. It took all that for him to say it: "Those kids were right. It's effort, not result. It's trying. God, what a great human being I could have been if I'd had this awareness back then."
It is always a “who” not a what or a when or a where … always a who.
We are experts in introducing people to the institutional church and then wonder why, later in life, they find that they are just as happy going off and doing other things. Often a pastor will hear, “I don’t understand my adult children. I took them to church, but now they don’t have anything to do with the church.” But you see it isn’t about the church it is about the Messiah. It isn’t about an organization, but about the Son. It is a who!
As Coach Valvano discovered later in life … the who in him was defined by the effort and the trying not the results. His players got it right. Being your best not the win/lose column defines you, but even that idea doesn’t go deep enough. It is not even doing our best, but entering into a relationship – a personal relationship with the Son that truly defines us.
Individuals leave congregations for a variety of reasons, but seldom are those reasons rooted in Kingdom issues, seldom are they related to who the Son of Man is, seldom do they center on a relationship with the Messiah. Almost always they have to do with institutional and/or personality concepts and ideas. When the who of the faith gets involved then everything else doesn’t really matters. Everything else is nothing but fluff. If a pastor gets into trouble with his/her congregation or if a congregation begins to decline it is usually a result of an emphasis on the “fluff” of our faith instead of the who of our faith.
We need your help to keep us on track and not get bogged down with the fluff of church stuff. Keep us in a personal relationship with you and help us to share that relationship with others.
QUOTE by Max Lucado, And The Angels Were Silent:
After three years of ministry, hundreds of miles, thousands of miracles, innumerable teachings, Jesus asks who. Jesus bids the people to ponder not what he has done but who he is. It’s the ultimate question of the Christ: Whose son is he?