Friday, January 06, 2017

Not As Easy As It Looks

Jenna played middle school basketball for me for three years. In sixth grade, she asked if I would perform her wedding at some long future date; of course, I was honored! Now, as a junior on our traditionally powerful varsity girls' basketball team, Jenna is back in my Gospels class and ranks as one of my best students ever. But that's not all. She is also serving as my student assistant coach in basketball for our first period practices. Although her own basketball schedule precludes her from sitting on the bench with us during games, she is invaluable to me and our squad. I'm hoping her schedule allows her to be with us next year, too!

Jenna had a little glitch several days ago. She went home sick, after practice but before her seventh period Bible class. That left her with a quiz to make up, Matthew 5:13-30 to be exact. She came in during my second period 8th grade Bible class this morning during her SACT or tutorial time to make up her work. Before she walked out the door, I asked Dahlia, one of our players,
"How do you think Jenna did in practice this morning?" Predictably, Dahlia answered, "Great!" I countered that I thought Jenna had shot very poorly during our workout in her role as assistant. Jenna was in a hurry so we really didn't have a discussion. But what I said was true..... and not true. You see, when Jenna shoots in practice, it's her job to miss. We have three rebounding drills, two of which are live based on who gets the ball, where it is imperative that Jenna, as our designated shooter, miss. We still play the ball if her shot goes in but it is much better for our purposes if she misses. So, for Jenna to have a good day in practice, her shooting percentage needs to be zero. That's like saying to make a good grade on a test, you have to have no correct answers. Some kids would like that option!

Here's what makes Jenna's job so tough; her misses have to be plausible. By this I mean the ball has to avoid going through the hoop while being close enough to mimic a legitimate shot. She has to change her shooting stroke just barely; too much and it won't be close and not enough, she likely scores. It's kind of like lying, isn't it? That's a subject we will speak about frequently as we cover the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us to let our yes be yes and our no, no. But when we lie, to make it believable, it has to sound like it's true or at least possible. There has to be some accuracy mixed in with the dishonesty. I know this is an oversimplification but lies tend to take more narrative than the truth, at least in my opinion. I think Satan is effective as he can make lies sound like truth because we are naive and hear what we want to hear. Jenna can't just throw the ball at the basket like a baseball and Satan doesn't trumpet his deceit. It takes work for Jenna to be a bad shooter and seek to be inaccurate because that's not in her nature. But it's not a struggle for the devil to distort the truth because that's who he is. Jesus said Satan is the father of lies. That's one horrible family to identify with.

Applicable quote of the day:
“The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not” 
Charles Barkley

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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