I enjoy listening to sports talk radio. When I am driving or doing some work around the house, I’m usually listening to either a podcast or sports radio, so I am generally current with the goings-on of the national sports scene. There comes a point however, where you can only take so much of a certain thing. For me, this “certain thing” was the speculation of where NBA stars would be playing next year. This was right in the middle of the NBA playoffs, while actual games were being played. Many of the players that the analysts were speculating about were on teams that were still in the playoffs- but, for some reason, which players might need to team up with each other on such and such a team next year was a bigger talking point than those same players trying to win a championship this year! How do you talk about that subject for so many days on end?? How could I listen to it for so many days on end?? Really, just wait a few weeks and you won’t have to speculate anymore. You’ll actually have a real thing to discuss. Maybe you can tell this is still a little raw for me. My Ennegream Type 8 tells me that I am prone to getting annoyed with lots of things/everything 🙂
After a time, I did stop listening, but not before I heard of the extravagant lengths that teams and fan bases were taking in order to lure said stars to their team. Billboards are just the beginning. Recruitment from other players, wining and dining from top executives and other celebrities. Lavish praise from fans. When you have an incredible gift that is also incredibly valued, people will go to incredible lengths to draw you to them. Take Kawhi Leonard, for example. He was the most sought after prize in the free agent sweepstakes, becoming even more so after he led the Raptors to the title. There were reports that a Toronto based jet company was literally going to give him his own private jet. He was going to be able to live for free in one of the premier up-scale homes in Toronto for free… these things on top of the enormous salary that he could demand as well. But Toronto was just one of many suitors. The Clippers had been recruiting him going back to last season, well before they could even sign him. The Lakers were pulling out all of the stops as well. Each team making promises of a glorious future. Kawhi had his pick of litter. Who could make him feel the most wanted…
All of this has a point. Fast forward to my life as a worship pastor.
I was thinking about God and our church and the church at large, and wondering if there were any sort of parallel between God and Kawhi Leonard, strictly in terms of gracing people with their respective presences. I had the thought, “If I were God, and I was looking down on the earth, and I saw a group of people here and a group of people there, and one group of people was worshiping me and the other group was thinking bad thoughts of me or even just apathetic, wouldn’t I be more inclined to spend my time with and pour out my blessing and grace and mercy and everything good on the people who were worshiping me? And then, if that were the case, wouldn’t I increase my level of blessing and grace and mercy based on their intensity of worship?” And I thought, I would. Those people really love me. I’ll go there! How “Kawhi” of me.
At that point, I knew my thinking was way off. I had the song, “This Is Amazing Grace” sitting in front of me. If God chose to bestow his grace upon us like Kawhi Leonard chose to bestow his basketball skills upon the Clippers, God would no longer have amazing grace. His grace would be unamazing. It would be regular. His grace would go to the highest bidder, to the ones who made Him feel the most loved and wanted. And the opposite is precisely why His grace is so amazing. Miraculous, really. His grace is amazing in that before we loved him, before we praised him, while we were sinners, he offered us His grace. He didn’t give His grace to those who deserve it (oxymoronical statement) but to those who don’t, which is very much unlike how we (not just Kawhi) operate, which happens to be very good news.