As much as I love football on Thanksgiving, if the Packers aren’t playing, the true sport to follow is basketball. Not only are we immersed in the start of our season, but the NBA is in full gear with a bevy of great match-ups while college basketball presents a feast of early season tournaments and contests between ranked teams. This week sets us up for a terrific season to come at all levels.
But, the holiday season of thanks involves much more than good sporting opportunities, especially for those who believe in an almighty Creator who not only designed and created our lives and the world, but dearly loves to interact with His creation. Whether we recognize it in this fallen, broken world or not, God is on His throne and through his grace, provides a plan and purpose for each of us – that includes our nation. Throughout our nation’s history, we have taken time to consider our thankfulness to God and as we do so, we recognize the freedom and position we are blessed with and, in turn, show our thankfulness by generously giving and providing for those around us, as individuals and collectively as a nation. I pray for you to be blessed this weekend, but more importantly pray for each of us to act upon the thanks we feel and turn this season into one of true giving.
BASKETBALL – The Call to Give
Since I often use my experiences, especially with our current team, to help me find and understand God’s wisdom for my life and in my faith walk, I have to relate that the GIVING in Thanksgiving is rattling through my brain. As much as I want the flow in our offense we discussed last week, our team got off to a rough start in our first two games – especially in giving. Last year our team set a season record for assists in a highly productive performance, but as we began the season with two games in a tournament, we had more turnovers than assists and we took more one-on-one dribble move shots than shots created through passing. It’s a disturbing trend that we have to correct immediately and it’s a reminder that every season, every team, and every player is unique. With that in mind, we brought back an important drill to emphasize giving that we’ve been using every day in practice – here it’s demonstrated by Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew:
And in our third game, we showed vast improvement with 25 assists and only nine turnovers. To sustain a culture of unselfishness, however, we will continue to use this drill and focus on the act of giving.
LIFE & FAITH – Thankful Living
There’s incredible wisdom in the celebration of Thanksgiving, beyond the remembrance of the holiday and in spending time with family. Thanksgiving, is both about being thankful and about giving – that’s some good advice for basketball teams, too. Be thankful in working with your team, in supporting each other, and in creating opportunities for each other. There’s nothing like being a part of a team. And through that thankfulness, learn to be even more unselfish. That’s how great teams are made.
In the struggles of daily life, being thankful for every opportunity – good and bad – helps as we relate to others around us. The Apostle Paul knew that. After he had been through years of ministry, working with fellow believers and sharing the Gospel with new ones, and despite accomplishing as much as any preacher could, Paul found himself in his old age imprisoned by the Roman empire. Paul knew, however, that even as an old and tired prisoner God was not finished with using him to spread an important message. Paul wrote from prison to the followers in Colossae:
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. – Colossians 4:2-4
That’s the message for all of us. Despite our circumstances, we can be an example of thankfulness, as well as selfless living for everyone around us. Are the attitudes of unselfish humility and genuine thanksgiving evident in the way you respond to circumstances? Maybe it’s time to make some changes. Start by refusing to let your situation determine your attitude. When your attitude overshadows your situation, transformation really begins and you can truly live a life of ThanksGIVING.
With that in mind, here are a few articles from the past that relate to playing unselfishly: