I realized something this week. I’m a better NBA Basketball player than I am a pastor. Yep, you read that correctly, I’m a better National Basketball Association Basketball player than I am a pastor. If you know anything about my life, then you know I’m barely 6 feet tall and I have a love for sweets that causes me to be a little too out of shape to jump at least in real life. You see, in my video game I’m a 6’8 athletic machine. I’m the lead scorer in the NBA and a five, yes FIVE, time NBA Finals MVP. I just signed a 5 year, 22 million dollar contract with the Indiana Pacers, and, boy, my life is good! The only problem with this is that it’s not real life.
This is My Problem:
In real life, I’m a 22 year old brand new pastor and husband. I’ve learned something this week. Being an effective Pastor is hard. Being a loving husband is tough. Reality hit me like a rock. Life is hard. Monday morning I hit the snooze button five times, finally turning off my phone, and sleeping another hour. I went to my office to start on my sermon for Sunday only to come up with nothing. I wrestled for about 15 minutes with my text not knowing where to begin. After getting frustrated, I got on twitter to keep up with SEC Media Days. Then my wife came in to remind me we needed to go 35 miles away to the nearest Belk to shop for our niece. Groaning, I reminded her I was “busy” at work. After rereading the text and still finding no direction, I called it a day, went to our living room, and entered my fantasy world as an NBA Player. I wish I could say this was a one time event, but Tuesday I did almost the same thing. Whenever being a pastor got difficult I fled to the comfort of my fantasy world.
Being an NBA Player is Just Easier:
Now I’m not saying video games are of the devil. I’m not the water boy’s famous Momma. What I am saying is that when life got hard and I had the choice of fight or flight, I flew every time. I wish I could say I discovered this dangerous error myself, but the Lord wouldn’t allow me that chance to boast. Instead, he had my beautiful wife, Jordan, point it out to me. She came in one night while I was playing for the third time that day and said, “You really are playing Xbox a lot lately. You could be doing more productive things.” I knew all too well that what she was saying was true. You see it’s easier to play video games or watch T.V. or go fishing or do anything else in the world than to work to be a better pastor or husband.
This is Our Problem:
But I don’t think I’m the only one with this problem. In fact the Apostle Paul talks about straining forward in his sanctification, or his process of becoming more like Christ. Because of the sinful nature that we’re born with becoming more like Christ is not an easy process. Paul says this is Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” You see, Paul tells us here that life does get hard, but because, “Christ Jesus has made me his own” I strain and fight against my laziness and slothfulness and my sinfulness to what lies ahead: the prize of full salvation. The prize that guarantees that one day I won’t be struggling with my weaknesses because I’ll be perfected in Christ.
By The Grace of God:
Yes, I may be a better NBA player, but I want to work toward what actually matters in life: becoming a better Pastor for the people Christ has set before me, and more importantly becoming more like Christ my Savior. By his grace, I know He’ll accomplish this work in me, not because I’m faithful – but in spite of my faithlessness – because He is faithful.