Intangibles

24 04 2017

Hi all, it has been a while.  I am not doing much writing  currently due to many factors but mostly a lack of time.  That is not a bad thing as the tasks that keep me busy are very rewarding including being the parent of a beautiful teenager, immersing myself in my career, working on being a great husband and the service we do in our community, our church and our school.

Most of my late writing has been short stories.  Motivational pieces that are supposed to turn young christian ladies into basketball machines in Christ, prior to a game.  However I found myself writing something different, a devotion.

I was following a theme that started this year on one of the boards I serve.  The theme is “personal”.  I noticed that many of my fellow board members were adding personal stories to their devotionals.  I struggle to share personal things in life and I struggle with intangibles so I stepped out on a limb.  This is real, real personal and with the help of my friend Curt Harding (www.curtharding.com)  I think worth sharing.

-Matt

Intangibles

It is late in November at a Midwestern Lutheran High School and there is trouble in the air.  Something has descended over the girls’ JV basketball team practice like fog – something powerful we can all relate to: Doubt.  Frustrated, the coach blows his whistle gathers his young team.  He has eight freshman and three sophomores, which is part of the problem.  They are tired, discouraged, afraid, uncertain, and lost.  They are being asked to learn systems, plays and fundamentals that are all new to them.  They are, for the first time, playing basketball six days a week.  They have laughed, cried, and shook their heads in dismay.  They have doubts, doubts they belong, doubts that they can be everything the coach says they can be.  They have heard stories of the successes that await them, but they cannot touch, feel, or even see it.  They are intangibles.

The coach is well liked for his abilities to teach and he is known for his old school humor and his unbridled enthusiasm.  He is not known as a soap box preacher, but on this day, as his team gathers, his frustration boils over.  He takes a deep breath and addresses the team.  “This has got to stop, right now,” he begins, “I know you’re frustrated, I know you’re tired and I know you don’t think you belong here.”  “I’m here to tell you, you do belong, you earned your spot, this isn’t some participation trophy, you are here because you are good enough and I know you can do this, I’ve seen it.”  “You have got to reach inside of you and believe you CAN.”  The coach’s voice is filled with feeling and love. Quietly he gathers his breath and softly says “I believe in you.”  He points to his assistant coach and team manager and says, “They believe in you, now you’ve got to believe in you.”  The rest of the practice was quiet.  As the team gathered for the ending prayer and final cheer, coach told them to break huddle with two words:  “We Believe!”

2016 Girls Believe shirtsWe Believe became their mantra.  The team applied it not only to basketball, but to life.  They embraced the notion that David took down Goliath because he believed.  We believe was built on a foundation of faith in Christ and a belief that if He is with them, who can stand against them.

The same is true for you and me.  We struggle with the intangibles, the things we cannot touch, see or hear.  And like that team, WE Believe Christ is our foundation.  We also need to believe that were chosen to serve Christ through Valley Lutheran.  We believe in what we do here.  It is needed in our world, educating minds, nurturing faith and cultivating leaders.  We believe in our faculty and staff, and in our administration.  We believe in the Growing campaign and the impact it will make on our children, and this entire community.

I struggle with intangibles.  One day, a friend helped me with this while we were working on some basketball stuff together.  He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of rocks, I immediately made a joke asking him if they were the rocks from his head.  He smiled and handed me a rock, this rock (pull from pocket). He said that this rock symbolizes Jesus our rock and salvation.  He told me that holding it offers him comfort and strength.   It has now become my comfort, my strength.  What a gift…  This is actually my third rock, I have to admit I panic a little bit when I lose one, luckily my wife will share hers with me until I can replace mine.  Tangible, solid, a gentle comforting reminder that without Him, I am weak.

These rocks talk.  Hold them up to your ear.  Do you hear anything?  No?  That is good, that means the name of Jesus is still being praised in the world.  In Luke Chapter 19 as He made his way down from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem, riding on a colt the whole multitude of his disciples praising him “blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Verse 39 and 40 state

And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  He answered, “I tell you, if they were silent, the very stones would cry out”
My story began with a group of girls – a team, and a coach.  That coach is our very own Coach Carroll.  I was his assistant.   I got to live and witness the power of WE BELIEVE.

We Believe

Prayer:

Dear Lord we are weak and need constant reminders of Your love and mercy.  Help us with the intangibles and doubts in our lives.  Continue to guide us offering us wisdom and direction as we share Your word and share our faith that keep the stones quiet.  In your name WE BELIEVE,

Amen.