Pay the Price to Make the Team

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful.” (CEV)

On the first day of school Billy entered the basketball coach’s office. “Coach, I didn’t get to play much as a freshman last season. But I’ve grown almost two inches this summer. I know practice doesn’t begin until November, but I want to start working out now so I can make the junior varsity team this season.”

“That’s good to hear, Billy. I’m glad you are eager to get started.”

“What should I do, coach? Give me a work-out plan. I’ll do it every day and really be ready when practice starts.”

“Okay, Billy. To start with, you’ll have to throw away your cigarettes. I’ve seen you at least a dozen times this summer with one in your mouth. You can’t smoke and keep up with the running schedule I’m going to give you. And I suspect you are drinking. The kids you run around with on Friday and Saturday nights are into alcohol. There is no room for you on our roster if you insist on being part of that lifestyle.”

“Remember the team meeting we had on the last day of school last spring? I gave every one of you a schedule showing when the gym would be open during the summer. You didn’t show up for even one of those sessions. That schedule suggested you run at least fifteen miles a week. Have you done that?”

Billy muttered a resentful “No”.

“Some of the boys said you are working four nights a week at Betty’s Burger Bar. I don’t think you will have enough time to work there, keep up your grades and do the pre-season work-out schedule. Your grades come first, so you will have to decide between burgers and basketball.”

“Billy you have some real basketball talents. I’m glad you want to improve them. But so far you haven’t shown a willingness to do the necessary work. Here’s the pre-season schedule. I hope you can follow it.”

Like the young man in Mark 10:22 Billy “went away grieved.”

In times of religious fervor we are apt to pray “God, use me.” Does he have a list of things we need to do or become so we can be of value in his kingdom? Are we willing to pay the price of obedient Bible study and prayer in order to be a valued member of the winning team?