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Tag: ego

Leading the league in assists

James Worthy, Michael Jordan, and Dean Smith
Left to right: James Worthy, Michael Jordan, and coach Dean Smith, legends of University of North Carolina basketball. Photo by Zeke Smith, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

I have been a college basketball fan since high school. I remember my heart breaking that night in 1982 when Georgetown guard Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, mistakenly passed the ball to North Carolina’s James Worthy with 7 seconds on the clock, icing the championship game for the Tarheels.

This weekend I plan to watch all three games. While I’m not a fan of any one of the four teams left in this year’s madness, I will be rooting for Michigan State and Kentucky (a) because I picked them, and (b) because one is the underdog and the other is going for history. Won’t that make for a great championship game story?

One of the things I like about college basketball is the importance placed on the assist. For those not familiar with basketball, a player receives an assist when they make a pass that leads to another player scoring. While the guy hitting the 3-point shot or making the thunderous dunk may get most of the applause and headlines, assists get noticed. They are an official stat listed alongside points and rebounds in the boxscore.

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Have you emptied yourself?

Jesus "though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness." -Phil 2:6-7

My morning devotion on Christmas Eve directed me to Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV) – a passage we read to understand more about Jesus, but a passage originally written to a group of Christians in need of an ego check. The church in Philippi was apparently bickering over power issues, and issues of right and wrong. These are issues we associate pastors know well.

Paul’s advice to the church was to adopt the “mind of Christ,” a posture of humility. In context, I hear Paul saying something like, “You think you deal with people who don’t get it? Imagine being Jesus – God in the flesh – and having to deal with the likes of you and me. Thankfully Jesus did not wield that like a big stick. Instead, he put it aside and subjected himself to even experiencing crucifixion. That is why he is who he is!”

We associate pastors are leaders who are working under the authority of other leaders, and called to facilitate the members of our congregation to participate in that leadership. That is a lot of leaders in a small area. If we are not careful can become the too many cooks who spoil the broth.

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