Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Physical Game

At 9:00 Toni and I got back from the girl's basketball game here in Cokato. The DC team won. They're moving on to the section semi-finals on Saturday in St. Peter. Two of our starters are now hurt -- one captain tore her ACL at the last regular season game and today another broke her arm.

As we were coming back Toni remarked on how physical basketball has become. It's certainly a contact sport. At one point I compared it to rugby. There were many tussles for the ball and some ended up with girls on the floor. I'm glad there weren't more injuries.

The chapter we're reading from Graeme Sellers' book this week is "Reckless." The chapter begins with the negative side of recklessness, the ways that reckless people "consistently cause trouble and find themselves deep in it." Reckless people, writes Graeme, put other people at risk, "courting catastrophe at every turn, failing to value anyone's desires other than their own," without, it seems, "the slightest concern for anyone in their way."

I would not, in any way, call the basketball teams we saw tonight "reckless." The girls were well coached and cared for. But winning does require aggressive play, and watching the game tonight I could understand a bit of the other side of "recklessness" that Graeme speaks of.

There are times when a dash down the court with a shoulder lowered to intimidate the opposition is just what is called for. And, at times, it certainly seems reckless--at least to those who are on the sidelines of the game looking on.

There are times when such "reckless" disregard for the consequences are just what is called for. On the top of page 126, Graeme writes this:
Reckless. It's a stupid, selfish, sinful way to live.
There are some exceptions to the rule. There are instances when recklessness--a wild, calculated risk-taking indifferent to public opinion--is precisely what is called for. In the kingdom adventure Jesus invites his friends to embrace, reckless obedience to all that he commands makes them conspicuously dangerous to their adversary.
The adversary is the devil, the enemy of everything good. And sometimes, as we deal with him, the tactics employed will seem reckless. Read the last part of Hebrews 11. God's people are sometimes called to aggressive obedience that causes trouble -- especially for themselves. We'll say more about this on Sunday, March 8 at Crossroads.

As God's people are called to stand out from the crowd and push for victory, caution and safety cannot always be our main concern. There are times when God calls us out into spiritual conflict where we may be injured. There are times when God calls us to reach out in ways that may cause us to suffer. We may die as we serve our Lord. But that will not be a defeat. As we bring light and love into the darkest places we follow the One who died and rose from the dead.

Some might call Jesus "The Most Reckless." Caution and common sense were not his main plan. And he calls us to follow. To live like him. To do as He did. No matter what the cost may be.

After describing the fate of some of God's Reckless ones, the author of Hebrews says this at the beginning of chapter 12.
"Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne."
Most of us could use a little more recklessness when it comes to acting out our faith. Maybe that's why a good aggressive game of basketball may just be good training for the work of God in this world. It will at least teach you to push hard to share the victory Jesus won for us all.

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