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Playing like a star

Being a modest man, I rarely mention that I was a star in the NBA. I hesitate to talk about playing basketball in packed stadiums. I’m reluctant to tell of my last-second, game-winning shots. Mostly, it’s not modesty that prevents me from bragging, though. It’s the nagging reality that those things happened only in my head.

Oh, I wanted to be a basketball star. I dreamed it while dribbling up the driveway. I could almost hear the roar of the crowds. Unfortunately, there was a serious gap between my dreams and my abilities. My talent got me in free to years of junior high and B-team games, but I rarely got in the game.

I no longer dream of basketball stardom. (Well, not much!). But I do still dream of being a star person – of being impressively good, outstandingly positive, overflowing with joy.

I dream big, but, lacking talent, I’m still just riding the pine. Is that you I see down on the other end of the bench?

There is good news for us benched dreamers. There is a new game in town, with a strange new approach. It allows you to play at the highest level based on someone else’s talent instead of your own.

The game is holiness. The superstar is Jesus. The transfer of goodness is called sanctification (for those of you who like big churchy words.) You see it in the apostle Paul’s greeting to the church in Corinth. To that group of bush-league believers, Paul wrote: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Two of Paul’s words, “sanctified” and “holy,” are actually the same word in the original language. What Paul said was, “to those made holy in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.”

Corinthian Christians both were and weren’t. They were called to be holy, to live better lives, but weren’t yet doing so well at it. They were, however, made holy - given the holiness (saintliness) of Jesus to use as their own.

We dreamers no longer have to just dream. We have been offered pro-level goodness from God. If we accept his offer, even when we drop the ball or miss the goal, we can play on with confidence that we still score the points, we still win the game.

Get off the bench. Get in God’s game. With his talent, you cannot lose.


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