March Madness is upon us. I love basketball. I grew up watching and playing basketball, and I still enjoy a competitive game every now and then. For the first half of my life, my dad was a basketball coach. Although he was never “officially” my coach, he was usually the loudest voice in the stands, and he always had something to say that would make me a better player. (For clarification, my dad was a real coach, but he never coached any of my teams. He wasn’t just some old guy yelling in the stands)
Looking back on the coaching I received from my dad, I realized that he only taught me the boring stuff.
He never taught me how to dunk; he taught me how to make lay-ups (especially left-handed lay-ups like the one in the above picture).
He didn’t teach me the behind-the-back pass; he taught me how to bounce pass.
He didn’t teach me how to make three-pointers; he taught me how to make free throws (as seen below…statistically, I probably made that free throw).
He didn’t teach me how to be the leading scorer; he taught me how to play defense and keep my guy from scoring.
My dad taught me to love the fundamentals – the basics – and I got good at those. To this day, I love left-handed lay-ups, and my favorite shot is the mid-range jumper.
As Easter approaches, I think it is important to remember the simplicity of the Gospel. Like bounce passes and mid-range jump shots, the Gospel can seem pretty boring – we sinned, God still loves us, Jesus died for us, party in heaven – as if we have been desensitized to its magnitude.
The apostle Paul writes, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
With all the sermons, podcasts, tweets, blogs, editorials, and opinions out there about the complexities of Christianity, I think it is important to remember and revisit the simplicity of the Gospel.
What does the Gospel mean to you? How does it impact your daily life?