Friday, December 30, 2016

“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” ― Corrie ten Boom

        Remember the 1994 Razorback national championship in basketball when Arkansas beat Duke 76-72?  Remember the excitement when the game was over?  Remember the sight of the players cutting down the net?  I remember almost every moment of that night.  That was something.
         I have a piece of that net, given to me by one of the players in that game (Davor Rimac). Many people have seen it and were excited to be able to see (in real life) a “piece of the net.”  Of course, the net had very little to do with the game itself.  It just hung there, oblivious to the frenzy, sweat, and squeaks of the shoes on the floor beneath it.  The net didn’t care who won or lost or even whether there was a game or not. It did its job just by being there.
          We, the fans of the winning team, are the ones who give value not only to the net, but even to its pieces. (My piece is not very big.) That little piece of nylon has value for me because I’m a fan and because I knew personally the player who gave it to me.  You know, I just don’t believe that my piece of the net would have much value to an Alabama fan, and it would probably have a negative value for a Duke fan.  I wasn’t on the team that won the national championship,  I wasn’t even an assistant coach,  and I didn’t drive the team bus.  In fact, I wasn’t even at the game.  Yet that little piece of the net still has great value for me.
          In the same way, I was not one of the 12 apostles, and I never heard or saw Jesus when He was here in physical form. I never knew an eyewitness who could have told me what Jesus was like.
If there are any pieces of the cross on which He died still around I don’t have one and have never seen one. But I have never questioned either the fact of His existence, His death on the cross, or His resurrection.  My faith in Him is sure and certain and unshakeable.
          Some folks have questioned the authenticity of my piece of the net, and I have no proof to offer them save my faith in the one who gave it to me.  I’m sure there are some who question the authenticity of my life in God’s service, and I can offer them no proof save my faith in He who gave me life and life eternal.  I value my piece of the net even though I did not receive it directly from the hands of the player but from another acting on his behalf, but that does not diminish its value, because I also value the hands that actually brought it to me.   Likewise, I value my life in service to my Lord because of the wounded, bleeding hands that gave it to me.  We are all precious to God, of infinite worth, or He would not have sent His son to die on the cross in our place.
          Only a few can have a piece of the net from that game, but every single soul who truly seeks Christ will find Him. Centuries from now, my little piece of the net will not have much value, but a life lived in obedience to God and blessed by His grace will have value forever. And that’s the truth.
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