In his book, "The Explicit Gospel," Matt Chandler writes, "March madness is the greatest sporting event. I say that because it's also the last athletic venue in which David can still beat Goliath. All over the country, fans are nervous. They're nervous in their guts, they want their team to win so badly. They watch the games and yell at their televisions. "No!" Yes!" Kids are crying in fear, wives are running for more nachos - it's chaos. It's madness. With victory comes elation and surfing a thousand websites to read the same article over and over again, and with defeat comes destitution of spirit and days of mourning and moping, angrily arguing on a blog about who really deserved it or an official's botched call. Every bit of those affections, every bit of that emotion, and every bit of that passion was given to us by God for God. It was not given for basketball."
Yesterday marked Palm Sunday; the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on an obscure donkey - whose job I would have gladly taken - amid the thrill and anticipation of a crowd with Final Four-like fever. The Messiah had arrived to overthrow the Romans. The favorite was entering the forum with no chance of losing. Phones out and selfies about, "LET'S GO, JESUS! LET'S GO, JESUS!" Any minute and you'd expect to hear "We are the Champions" being played in the background.
In our industry, even during Holy Week, we have an insatiable desire to conquer, to prove them wrong, to beat yesterday, to promote "faith and fitness," but like Chandler said, all of that passion and emotion that you and I feel toward the body - or our "ministry" - was given to us by God for God. As upside-down as it sounds, it wasn't given to us for fitness. It wasn't given to us for the gym, or a scoreboard, or a goal, or a crossfit competition, or in my case, an ongoing recovery or continued rehab. All of the stirring of desire that swirls deep within my belly for my most prized objective was given to me by Jesus to be used on Him alone. And here He comes. Here He comes down this narrow path on a mule amid chaos. What will I do with my moment near the Messiah?
As we enter Holy week, may we all simply halt the game. Fast-break or not, pick up the ball. Stop the momentum. Call a time out. Let the noise of the desperate crowd go silent even as they demand, "Shoot!! Shoot!"
Shoot, not this week. And maybe never again. At least not in the same way. Matt Chandler asks, "Where is our elation over the Resurrection?" Well, it's on our social media account. It's on our status. It's on our progress. It's on our 'one shot.'
- Jimmy Peña
For Discussion: Hope you'll join me all week as we prepare for Easter. Does anyone have prayer requests that we can go to the Lord about? We promise to pray for you, and if you'd rather not get specific, simply say, "unspoken" and we'll lift you up by name.