Sunday, May 01, 2016

The Difference

The picture above is slightly out of date. The young man in my story tonight, Anthony Collins, played his final year of college basketball down the road at Texas A & M, starting at point guard. This is about Anthony, one of my favorite students ever. It is from June 12, 2012.
If you are a serious college basketball fan, you might recognize the young man pictured above as Anthony Collins. This spring, he was named to the All Big East Rookie team for his play this past season as a freshman point guard at the University Of South Florida. Anthony led his squad into the NCAA basketball tournament as the Bulls peaked late in the year and forced their way into March Madness. He is viewed as one of the up-and-coming stars of college hoops with good reason. Anthony is one of the rare players who makes every one on his team a better player and makes his coaches look smart. We all want one of those guys on our roster.

There's something else about the young man pictured above I want you to know. Anthony Collins was a student in my Bible classes at Westbury Christian School three times, as an eighth grader, as a sophomore, and last year as a senior. By the time he graduated in the spring of 2011, he was the best student in his class of very intelligent young men who had a good amount of Bible background. He would be the first student to arrive, he would take his seat on the front row, and he would review his notes for a test or the Scriptures for a quiz or memory assignment while his classmates would mill around and talk about last night's game. There was no messing around with Mr. Collins. Towards the end of his senior year, I was asked about Anthony as part of a press release/article. I described him using a word I don't think I' have ever used in describing any other student: obedient. Anthony did what he was supposed to do, what he was asked to do. In an age of edginess and individuality and often rebellion, Anthony was obedient and unfailingly polite. He had the stature because of his skills with a basketball- I'd seen him on a magazine cover while still in high school- that could have turned him arrogant or obnoxious or entitled or insufferable. Instead, he was humble, showing gratitude and respect to his elders and in the process, made a ton of fans who see him as so much more than just another athlete/entertainer. 

Obedience is a quality not valued highly in our society and yet it is taught plainly in the Scriptures. Look no further than Jesus who we're told was not only obedient to His Heavenly Father, even to the point of crucifixion, but also to His earthly parents, who were flawed as all of us are. I ask my female students if they want to marry a guy who is disobedient to his parents. I have yet to have one answer in the affirmative. But, kids today think the characteristic of obedience translates as weak. They couldn't be further from the truth. A sense of obedience in things that matter could give them a strength most can't fathom even though they covet it. To quote Alice Cooper, "School's out for summer,'' but the learning can't stop. Our culture could discover a universe of wisdom from the example of my favorite point guard.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Only he who believes is obedient and only he who is obedient believes."  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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