Posted by: gotjukies | August 4, 2008

How much is enough? Well, it doesn’t take a whole lot…

As a coach, one of my favorite stories is about a college basketball player. He was a second-string player, never much of an impact player. But one day after a team practice, his chance came… well, sort of. You see, the school had just lost a huge match to a conference opponent and the coach needed to find a way to inspire his players to practice hard and prepare themselves for their next match. The coach announced at next day’s practice that until the next game, he would keep track of who was working the hardest in practice and reward them with a starting position. And coach meant it too; he was going to start the hardest working five players regardless of skill level or class standing. So our second-string player (who happened to be an upperclassmen) continued as he had all season: putting out 100% at practice all week long. Now the player who normally started ahead of him, who was younger and more talented, also continued as he had all season: practicing like the starting spot was a foregone conclusion and belonged to him.

After practice on the day before their next game, coach announced the starting lineup and to everyone’s surprise, the second-string player got the starting spot for the first time that season. That evening, the coach had a surprise visitor in his office: our second-string player. He started off by thanking coach for the starting position (which coach said he most definitely earned), but he then made an unusual request: to give his starting position back to player who normally started ahead of him. The coach was dumbfounded. Wasn’t this what he had been working for all season long? A chance to not only play, but start as well? The second-string player took a deep breath and said, “Coach, both you and I know that [the first-string player] is a lot better than me. I worked really hard and dreamed about starting on the court for a home game, but this is an important conference game and we really need [the first-string player] in there. Can you please take me out of the lineup? Wouldn’t you know, the coach reluctantly obliged and started the other player –who coincidentally went on to have one of the best games of his season and led the team to a win.

We talked today about giving what we have… money, possessions, time, etc. But in the example above, the second-string player demonstrated selflessness in not what he gave, but what he didn’t take. Really, he had every right to start. He worked harder than the other player all season. He was older. He never complained. I’m sure in his heart, he had dreams of scoring tons of points, leading his team to victory, and proving all the naysayers and doubters wrong. But he put his team ahead of himself and did the right thing. The thing that would allow everyone to enjoy success.

Believe it or not, this is very much like the disciples in the story involving Jesus and the multiplication of loaves and fish. Jesus asked his disciples to feed the 5,000+ people on hand even though he knew the disciples only had enough for themselves. And, instead of complaining and doubting the Lord, the disciples did what was right: sharing only what they had with the 5,000+ people who were becoming hungry. They really only did what they could… unsel’fish’ly (pun intended). This indeed is part of the miracle. Their faith in Jesus led to the rest of the miracle which was turning the 5 loaves and 2 fish into 12 extra baskets when all had been fed… but the selflessness of the disciples is what’s worth mentioning again. You see, it’s not about how much you have, it’s what you do with it. The same way a small child in the Dominican Republic sees our empty gallon milk jug as a perfect choice for a baseball glove we too must take inventory of what we have and share what God has given us. I’m not even talking about money or possessions. I mean, most high school students don’t even work, let alone have spare cash to hand out to strangers. In fact, people might think you were a little mad if you went into the streets throwing money up into the air. Robin Hood or not, there are so many other gifts that the Lord has given you to share. Think of all the skills and talents you possess. Maybe you’re a gifted writer or singer. Maybe you have a knack for fixing stuff or can draw incredible pictures. Sometimes the most simple gesture can be the most meaningful and rewarding. Share what little you have, whether it’s a starting position in a basketball game or maybe just a smile. Do it because it’s the right thing to do, and with a little faith in God, you never know what it might grow into….



  1. Hey, this makes me happy inside :]. I got used to thinking that people can only really help people in the financial aspect.

    Then I think about those parents that only give money to their children, but aren’t there to take care of them…

    And then I read this…


  2. That’s a really good example too. Maybe you should write a blog article…

    *wink wink*

    *nudge nudge*

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