Well, it’s March again, and you know what that means? March Madness! You know; the annual NCAA college basketball tournament for which basketball fans, both young and old, longingly salivate. And when I think of this hallowed tournament, and college basketball generally, I can’t help but think of the late, great coach of the UCLABruins, John Wooden.
Wooden is considered by some to be the greatest college basketball head coach of all times. His teams’ records speak for themselves in supporting such a claim. With UCLA he won 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, including a record 7 in a row. His Bruin teams won an NCAA men’s basketball record 88 consecutive games. No one else has come close to such an accomplishment.
Wooden was noted for teaching his teams the basics of basketball…including how to put on their socks! He did not teach this lesson only once but before every game and practice. But why? Wooden discovered many players didn’t properly smooth out wrinkles in the socks around their heels and little toes. If left uncorrected, these wrinkles could cause blisters that could hamper their on-court performance, even costing them crucial games.
Like Wooden, I think we as Christians need to have the basics of the Christian life down pat to help us be successful spiritually in the game of life. There are ten basic truths I think we as Christians need to master. And these are not only for our benefit but also for the benefit of the children and grandchildren God has entrusted to us.
The ten truths are as follows:
Fear God – Prov. 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Obey your parents – Prov. 6:20-21: “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck.”
Guard your mind – Prov 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
Choose your friends wisely –1 Cor. 15:33: “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Control your lusts – 2 Tim. 2:22: “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Watch your words – Prov. 4:24: “Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.”
Excel in your work – Prov. 10:4: “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.”
Manage your money – Be generous with God & He will be generous with you. – 2 Cor. 9:6: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. “Be benevolent – Prov. 19:17: “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.” Save for the future – Prov. 10:5: “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son.”
Love people – Lev. 19:18b: “Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”
Be a person of character– Gal. 5:22-23a: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – be honest/genuine, make wise decisions, & keep commitments.
Now, with these ten basic truths as our game strategy, put that game face on, remember that younger players and fans are watching, and let’s get out there and “bring our A game” for the glory of our life coach, Jesus Christ!
Your friend & pastor, Bruce