how can we understand the Kingdom of God when we barely understand a basketball team?

Basketball is a team sport yet we idolize and create myths around the scorer and last-shot taker.

The body of Christ is most effective as a team, and we are instructed to give more honor to those that appear less glorious ( 1 Corinthians 12)… Yet we choose to idolize and create myths around the person on stage giving sermons.

So the basketball TEAM with the best all around players that play offense AND defense – wins championships – but America idolizes the scorers, we don’t want to hear about team ball or defense. Pistons and Spurs championships have the lowest ratings. 

Yet people will give Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant all of the credit for their teams carrying them to a championship and letting them take the last shot. We worship the individual scorer, and the NBA changes the rules so that scorers can score more easily.

In the same way the American church does not want to build a Body of Believers from the ground up like the book of Acts – with powerful Holy Ghost Jesus preaching, fellowship, discipleship, prayer, AND DEFENSE against false doctrine – we would rather idolize a preacher or a singer or a rapper and watch them perform. 

Unfortunately, we cannot persuade God to change the rules of the game. The body of Christ in America may get numbers and dollars but it will not have success until we stop lifting up performers and start honoring the teams that lift up Jesus.

Do you know that Jordan didn’t always play like that, either? It’s been so long, perhaps we’ve forgotten. MJ once dropped 55-8-4 in the finals (Game 4, 1993). He also went 6-of-19 in a close-out game against Seattle in 1996, and 5-of-19 in Game 6 of that series (still won by the Bulls). But because Jordan was 6-0 in the finals for his career and LeBron is 2-4, we drop all the relevant context. Because Kobe has five rings and LeBron just two, we ignore that Bryant, in winning that last ring, shot 40 percent for the series with as many turnovers as assists. We ignore that Kobe went 6-of-24 in Game 7 of those 2010 finals.

– Tom Ziller

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