Yesterday was an exciting beginning to the NCAA basketball tournament. There were upsets. Overtimes. Controversial calls. One point victories. And heart breaking losses.
The outcome of each game was important to their, players, coaches and fans. Yet in the midst of the adrenalin rush of these nail-biting contests, I am reminded of a statement by the late and legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden.
Wooden, who won 10 NCAA championship in a 12 year period, was a devout man whose faith influenced his life. When a reporter learned that Wooden always carried a cross in his pocket, he asked, “Why?” The famed coach calmly replied, “To remind me that there is something more important than basketball.”
On another occasion, Coach Wooden said, “I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.”
I really enjoy the game of basketball. Like so many Indiana kids, I grew up with a hoop in my back yard. I began playing in grade school and continued through college. I enjoy attending games and watching basketball on TV. But I need to realize some things are more important.
I don’t want to be like the fellow who watched so much basketball that his wife said, “I think you love basketball more than me.” He thought for a moment and responded, “Yes, dear, but I love you more than football.”
If you said that to your wife, you would be in trouble! But if you said that to Jesus, you would be in serious trouble. Serious soul trouble. Serious eternal trouble. Of course, none of us would ever say that, but we might live our lives glorifying and glorying in the wrong things
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The troubling events in our chaotic world today remind us that many things are more important than basketball, recreation or sporting events. Actually the cross ought to remind us that there is something more important than anything else and everything else in life.
Today is Friday. You may get your paycheck. That’s important! You may be going out to eat. Or see a movie. Or attend a concert. Those will be fun! Or there may be work to begin around your house or yard. Those are needful! Or you may watch Friday’s ball games! But something is more important. The cross!
Picture those on that Friday ….“those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mk. 15:29) I Imagine that some of them had important things on their minds. Things to do before the Sabbath began. Preparations to make. Places to go. Little did they know that everything was about to change on Sunday! What they thought was pretty important, really wasn’t.
Remember when you attend worship on Sunday that the cross is more important than politics, business or education. The cross is more important than your career, your net worth or your health. The cross is more important than relationships. The cross is more important than opinions. The cross is more important than our national security.
The cross is even more important than your very life! Why? Because the cross has to do with the security of the soul, our spiritual possessions and our eternal salvation.
You don’t have to carry a cross in your pocket. But it better be in your heart. Some things are just more important.
—Ken Weliever, The Preacherman