July 17, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Finding Your Spot

John Wooden was the Head Coach for the UCLA Men’s Basketball Team.

He was one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball.

At ninety-two years of age, he was voted as College Basketball’s Coach of the Century.

John Wooden would take kids straight out of high school, and by the time they graduated UCLA, he would raise their scoring average by a minimum of ten percentage points. How could he do this?

You would think that that this would be impossible, seeing as the defenses they would face at the college level were far superior to the defenses they faced at the high school level.

Coach Wooden realized that every player has a spot on the court where he shoots best. So, for the first couple of weeks, Wooden simply observed his freshman players and found each kids “spot” on the court. Then, one at a time, he would take each player onto the court, take a piece of chalk, draw a circle on the floor, and instruct the player that this was “his spot.”

He went on to instruct the players, that with the exception of a lay-up, this was the only spot on the floor from which they were authorized to shoot, and that to shoot from any other spot on the floor was a conscious decision on their part to disobey him, and that he would take them out of the game for such an action.

After restricting the players to shooting from only one spot on the court, he then went on to tell them that as their coach it was his responsibility to design plays that gave them opportunities to shoot from their spot; their only responsibility was to get to their spot.

As Christians, we would be wise to realize that our effectiveness is found in identifying our God-given talents and strengths – and playing to them.

In other words, by finding our “spot” in life, and only taking shots from there. Now, am I saying that we shouldn’t identify our weaknesses and try to strengthen them? No. We should constantly strive to improve ourselves. However, what I am saying is that our maximum effectiveness is found in playing to our strengths.

In Phillipians 3:13-14 the Apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”  Note: Paul didn’t say these “twenty” things I do, he said this “one” thing I do!  He identified his God-given strength or talent – his “spot,” if you will, and concentrated on maximizing it.

I wonder how much more effective each of us would be, in all aspects of our lives, if as Paul, we focused on our strengths instead of trying to do something that God never called or gifted us to do?

One of the most powerful words in the English language is the little word “no.”

I am convinced that we would be far better off if we learned to say it more often. Well-intentioned people will ask, and even encourage us, to take shots (serve) in areas that are not our spot. We would be wise to learn to say, “No!”

Remember what I said earlier about John Wooden. He told his players that if they shot from any place on the court other than their spot, then they had made a conscious decision to disobey him, and their actions would result in him taking them out of the game.

I wonder how many of us have been “taken out of the game” because we agreed to take shots (serve) in areas in which God never called or gifted us to serve. Our reasoning for doing so may have been noble but shooting from any other than our spot disqualifies us!

Remember, our duty is to find our “spot” in the Kingdom of God, and only shoot from it! It is God’s responsibility to orchestrate the events of our lives that give us the opportunities to shoot from our spot.

Brother Aaron

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