It’s March Madness and I’m a Hoosier. Every stereotype about Hoosier Hysteria lives in my hometown, in my own house. I married Mr. MVP, who comes from a family of basketball MVPs. My babygirl received a basketball hoop for her first birthday. No pressure. My oldest two sons are shooting hoops these days. And making assists.
For those of you not-so-basketball-savy, an assist is a pass a player makes to the scoring shooter. The shooter gets the glory. The person assisting gets – a tallymark.
As a basketball mom, I’ve seen my kids learn a lot from the sport. They’ve learned hard work and perseverance. They’re not the leading scorer. Recently, I watched one of them make several assists. As I watched Junior pass the ball off to another teammate who scored, I was reminded he’s learning a valuable life skill. A life skill I need to be reminded of, too.
In any sphere of life, there’s competition, envy, and longings. We all dream of making that “winning shot” in our little corner of the world. Even if we don’t want to be top-dog, it’s natural to desire recognition, achievement, success.
Making that winning shot and hearing the crowd roar = euphoria
But Michael Jordan, most of us are not. Most of us aren’t the CEO, top salesperson, Teacher of the Year, or winner on The Voice. Most of us assist those who reach the headlines or receive the yearly bonus.
After watching years of basketball, I’ve observed players making assists are selfless in the act. Many of them have a perfect shot to make, but they pass it off, giving other players an opportunity not only to score for the team, but to put themselves on the boards. To receive recognition. To succeed.
God calls this act humility.
Definitions of humility include (dictionary.com)
- not proud or arrogant; modest
- having a feeling of insignificance
- low in rank, importance, status
- courteously, respectful
I’m challenged as I watch high school players pass off the ball to the star shooter. I’m a sucker for the underdog. I want that guy to shoot when he’s got a good shot. But when I see him pass it off to a better player? I see character. I see selflessness. I see humility.
I want that. I’m never going to dominate the basketball court, but I can learn to assist in the areas where God has placed me. Does is matter if I get the credit for an idea I originated? How can I serve the leaders around me so they can excel in the areas God has gifted them? How can I make the “teams” I am a part of a success? Do I “pass off” tasks I do well so others can learn and grow, including my kids and husband? Do I give others an opportunity to succeed?
These are challenging questions. Christ calls this servanthood. While it’s not natural for us to pass the ball off, submitting to His Spirit makes it easier, even desirable.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30 (NASV)
Where do you need for Him increase so you can serve and assist those around you? Where do you rank in assisting others. Is it easy for you to pass the success to others, or do you struggle with wanting to score big?
It’s satisfying to watch plays happen, with players passing the ball to each other so the best player can make the strategic shot. The managers keep track of contributions each player makes to the effort. Those tally marks speak loudly at the end of the season. Often the tally marks make the Most Valuable Player the best all-around team member, not the best shooter.
I’m thankful that’s how God is, too. He doesn’t just reward the most successful. When no one else sees, He does, keeping tally of each act of service, each assist. His rewards are eternal, reminding us we are building treasures in Heaven.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21-22 (NIV)
In the end, I’d rather be God’s MVP.
As long as I get a really, really big trophy.
(how about you?)
PS – If your reading this before Monday, March 25, 8:00 AM EST, you can still enter the giveaway for Hannah’s Prayer by Kenneth Gividend. Click here for more information.