(Jesus said) "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
Down in Texas, Coronado and Franklin High Schools are rivals. Big time.
Coronado's coach, Peter Morales, knew that. Even so, he wanted to give a special moment to the team's manager, senior Mitchell Marcus. For three years Marcus, a young man with a learning disability, had been Coronado's manager and his comrade's chief cheerleader. Even though Marcus couldn't play on the team, his faithfulness under adversity had made him an inspiration.
As a thank-you, Coach Morales gave Marcus a uniform to be worn during the team's practice -- and at the big game. Marcus was in seventh heaven. But Coach Morales wasn't done. With two minutes left in the game, he put Marcus out on the court and told him to stand under the basket.
Again and again, Marcus' team threw him the ball. Again and again, his shot went wide, or high, or short. The last time, with a few seconds left to play, Marcus touched the pass thrown to him and the ball went out of bounds. Franklin had possession. Marcus' chance to score was over.
Down in Texas, high schools have some big-time rivalries. Even so, in many places Jesus is bigger.
Standing near his own basket, Franklin senior, Jon Martinez, put the ball into play. But before he did, he called out Marcus' name. In the closing seconds of the big rivalry game, Martinez tossed the ball directly to his opponent, to Marcus. Unopposed, he turned and made the shot.
When he was asked why he would do such a thing, Martinez, a Christian, said, "I was brought up to do unto others as I want them to do to me."
Yup, in many places high school basketball is a big thing, but in many places Jesus is bigger, and He is glorified by His people.
You see, Coach Morales, who was willing to lose a game to give Marcus "his moment," was a winner, as was his team, which kept feeding Marcus the ball. But the selfless action of the Franklin team also made them winners as well.
In these Daily Devotions I often write about crime and the spiritual sickness brought about by sin. Today I wanted to share with you what can happen when Christians respond to the love they have received from the Savior, the Savior who came to this earth to change us. Through His life-offering, Jesus paid the price for our sins and offered us forgiveness and heaven.
But Jesus' gifts are not just for the afterlife. By the Holy Spirit's power, believers are given a new heart and a right spirit. Wishing to glorify their Redeemer, they are empowered to do things which the world would never think of. They love their enemy, and they give the basketball to an opponent, who has a learning disability.
They do unto others as they want others to do for them, as Jesus has already done for them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have given me eternal life and a new heart. May that heart be empowered to do the good thing which brings glory to the Savior and benefits all around me. This I ask in the Name of my sacrificing Savior. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries