A New Scoring System

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Basketball takes center stage in the sports world in March.  We call it March Madness.

There is a definite scoring system in basketball.  If you make a foul shot, it is one point.  If you make a field goal, it is two points.  A third category for scoring was added for a three point shot.  You can’t get three points for a foul shot or one point for a field goal.  There is a definite scoring system.

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The world today has its scoring systems.  Our culture expects a certain score for a certain accomplishment.  Jesus came and upset the scoring system of His day and our day.  He instituted a new scoring system.  Here are a few examples:

  1. The world said (and says today) that you score most by what you get. We attribute success by how much money a person makes and how many possessions they have.  Successful people are those who are climbing the ladder.  It’s about getting.

Jesus changed that to say you score not by getting but by giving.  He said it is more blessed to give than to receive.  He said we really discover life as we lose our life in giving.  It’s a different way to keep score!

  1. The world says we win by being served. People like to talk about how many folks cater to their needs.  We have a pecking order in most businesses where people have to answer to people above them and try to please them.  Did you ever think that the more you can do for the person above you, the better chance you have of becoming one of those people those folks answer to?

Jesus upset that scoring system.  When people came and wanted to serve Him, He made it clear that He didn’t come to be served but to serve.  You win not by having people cater to your needs, but how well you serve other people.  When James and John were arguing about who was going to have the most important reward, Jesus answered them by taking water and a basin and towel and started to wash the disciples’ feet.  His scoring system meant that you get to the top by taking a towel and using it to serve people.

  1. The world’s scoring system was by conquering. It was by power.  It came to the person who had the most troops.  The way to win a battle was to have the largest army.

Jesus came with a different scoring system.  He said that our strength really comes in submitting to His will.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “Father, if it is possible that this cup pass from me – nevertheless, not what I want but what You want.”  It was through submission to God’s will that Jesus would come to ultimate victory.

Paul echoed this new scoring system.  In II Corinthians 12, he quotes Jesus as saying, “My gracious favor is all you need.  My power works best in your weakness.  So now I am glad to boast about my weakness so the power of Christ can work through me . . . for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul writes, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

In God’s scoring system you score by giving, serving, submitting and following.  That’s the only way to win in life!

What’s your score?

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