Thursday, April 6, 2017

Crowning Achievements

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”  “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied.  “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”  “Send for him at once,” Samuel said.  “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”  So Jesse sent for him.  He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”  So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil.  And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on.  Then Samuel returned to Ramah.  1 Samuel 16:11-13(NLT)
David, the youngest son of Jesse, stood before the prophet Samuel with all his brothers watching; his brothers who had been looked-at…and passed over…and watched as the prophet anointed David to be the next king of Israel.  The Bible doesn’t say so, specifically, but there had to be some hot-jealous blood flowing through the veins and arteries of Jesse’s sons that day.
We’ve just come through the season of college Marching thru the Madness in which UNC once again was crowned national champions.  There are more than a few basketball fans who identify with the passed-over sons of Jesse.
Every time UNC stages another level of dynasty-like mastery over the ranks of college basketball I think of my friend and teacher, Dr. Belton Joyner.  Dr. Joyner is a Wesleyan scholar, author and endowed with a wonderful sense of humor.  In 2010 I asked him to preach at our one day tent revival.  The first question he asked me was:  do they root for Duke or UNC?
Well, it wasn’t on our published mission statement, but this group assumed the Bible’s references to Jerusalem really meant Chapel Hill.  If you cut one of them you’d find the blood was Tarheel blue.  Dr. Joyner, a Duke Professor and humble servant of the Lord, came anyway.
At the appointed time to preach, Belton stood under the big tent, looked at the gathered crowd and began his sermon in true Joyner fashion.  He said: 
Not many people know this, but at one point far back in history, Duke and the boys over at Chapel Hill both wore those dark blue uniforms.  But the reason only Duke has kept the dark color is they’ve taken Chapel Hill to the cleaners so many times, theirs faded!
After the catcalls and boos subsided Dr. Joyner went on to preach a very fine sermon.  I’m relatively certain however, there were a few diehard UNC fans who do not remember a word of it!  I think it had something to do with loving your enemies.
Now the reason March Madness and David’s anointing go hand in hand is that we can learn from both that rivalry, both sibling and college basketball, can make us stronger or weaker, depending on what we do with it. 
David’s brothers were jealous and all they could do is snipe about their brother’s success.  The sons of Jacob were furiously jealous over their half-brother, Joseph.  They did more than snipe – they plotted his downfall and sold him into slavery.  That kind of rivalry led to heartache and much pain in the family.  The brothers of Jesus thought he was mad, and tried to get him to calm down and go home.
Admittedly I am not a college sports fan, so I have little stake in what team ends up at the top of the chart of 64 teams in March.  But I am a fan of Christian harmony in the family, be it your family, mine, a church, business, school or any other group.

For You Today

A question – can you rejoice with those who excel and not have your blood boil because it wasn’t you?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

 I Title image: By yusuke toyoda (originally posted to Flickr as UNC! Go Heels Go!), via Wikimedia Commons


  1. The Duke men beat the national champions twice this year. (For that matter, the Duke women beat the national women's champion this year.) Oh, I'm sorry. Did I miss the point of your article? (By the way, I pulled for UNC in the finals...quietly, but definitely.)

    1. Ha! Glad to see you're unchanged. But that remark about pulling, albeit quietly for UNC now means my current churches want you to be their pastor! :-)