How to Share Your Faith Using The NBA Finals
And then there were 16…
It's playoff time in the NBA, and LeBron James is tearing up the court…oh, wait…no, that's Carmello Anthony, who's not as good as LeBron right? Sorry!
OK, so I had to throw that in since I live in Denver. I'm still not too crazy about Carmello and his Nuggets doing so well because I'm really just a temporarily transplanted Texan and my home-state Spurs are losing as of right now. But things can change.
You know what's cool about the NBA finals? Anyone can win. The slate is wiped clean and all 16 teams are back at square one. Everyone is equal at the beginning of every round. And it doesn't matter how good, or bad, you were in the regular season, you can win it or lose it in the finals in one game. Everything you do, whether good or bad, is amplified many times more because the stakes and penalties for mistakes are so much greater.
Take the Nuggets and Spurs for example. The Nuggets, under the guidance of new coach George Karl, have gone from a back-of-the-pack light weight to a front running contender. After the All-Star break, their record has been incredible and they have blasted their way into the playoffs. The Spurs, a regular season leader, have been plagued by injuries and are limping into the playoffs, much because of the injury to their star player Tim Duncan.
And now the playoffs are here and everything counts. One mistake could be enough to send your team home.
You know, a lot of people think that's the way it is in life as well. How sad is that? A lot of people out there think that when they die and stand before God that he will weigh their good deeds against their bad deeds, and they are betting their eternity that the good is going to outplay and outscore the bad. They hope that when the final buzzer goes off all the good they did in life is going to have a higher total than all that bad stuff they did.
Now, I don't know about you, but to me that would be a very scary way to live. Have you ever heard of a buzzer beater? It's when someone shoots the basketball right before the final buzzer goes off and makes it and wins the game. That shot could put your team one point ahead and win the game for you! But, that shot could also be made by the other team so that they win.
Wouldn't that stink if you got one shot of “bad” off right before your life's buzzer went off and it put the “bad” one point ahead of the “good?” Then you'd be heading straight to hell because your good deeds didn't add up.
Fortunately for us, that's not how salvation works. We're not judged on a point system. If we were, we would always lose because our score would have to equal God's score.
His score is Bad – 0, Good – Infinity! There's no reason for me to even try to match that score because I already know I'll never match that.
Romans 3:23 says that everyone has sinned and fallen short of perfection (God's glory). That means that everyone has already lost the good/bad game.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved solely by the grace of God and there is NOTHING that we have or have not done that gets us saved. In other words, you win the game because Jesus gave you the points you need because there are not enough points in the universe for you to win on your own.
So, as you watch the NBA playoffs over the next month, take the opportunity to use the games to share the Gospel with your friends. Point out how much it stinks that those teams can play great all season long and still lose in the playoffs by one point. You can then turn the conversation to eternity by stating how many people are out there trying to rack up points in a game that's already lost by being “a good person.” No matter what, they will never get enough “good points” to win their eternal life. BUT there is one person who has scored the points for them, and all they have to do is accept the points. All they have to do is accept the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers. Present the GOSPEL Journey to them and see if they would like to trust Christ as their savior.
The Playoffs are here, so get out there and help your friends get on board the winning team!