Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Philippians 3: 12-14 (NLT)
As the morning begins to unfold it appears as though it will be a bit gray and cloudy today. I suspect that will be the case in other parts of the country as well. But experience also demonstrates that somewhere above all the clouds covering our day the sun is still and always shining.
And on a corresponding note, the four college basketball teams that make up the “Final Four” of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship have been determined, and for the first time in the history of this championship there are no #1 or #2 seeded teams in the Final Four. Sixty-eight teams began this journey three weeks ago and only four remain. And in one week, only one team will remain to stand atop the podium to be crowned the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Champion.
And as a result, sixty-seven teams will have fallen short of their original goal and dream. Sixty-seven teams will have reached for a “perfect 10” and ended up in the tournament landing at a number somewhere less than their beginning goal. Sixty-seven teams would have had the audacity to believe in the unbelievable, to expect the unexpected, and to dream of standing on the top of the mountain.
Sixty-seven teams will come up short.
Sixty-seven teams will be characterized by some as failures.
Perhaps to some in the world who have been burdened with a limited vision and a narrow view of the important things in life. Perhaps to some who think that life is all about things and money and trophies and awards; who perhaps at the end of their life will realize too late, that all those things are truly meaningless in the scheme of God’s plan for our lives now and throughout eternity.
Sixty-seven teams knew three weeks ago that they would never reach their God-given potential by going back or staying where they were. And so they reached for all they could be, and in that reach alone became more than they were before. In each step, dribble and bounce of the ball, rebound and shot along the way—reaching to become all they could be, reaching to become the national champion of college basketball in 2011—they became more than they were before. And in that effort they moved beyond any characterization of “failure” by those whose sense of worth is defined by how many things they have; and instead they reached a new point and place in the journey—a journey characterized by courage, and reaching, believing, expecting and hope.
Don’t get me wrong—it would be great to be the one crowned as the national champion in college basketball for 2011. It’s always a great moment to stand victorious in anything while striving for anything worthy of our reach. But along the way, whether in exhilarating victory or agonizing defeat, something happens in the effort—something which grows us and builds a platform for good for us to use to touch the world—while moving us closer and closer to all we were meant to be as individuals and together. Those things and platforms for good which our society, blinded by the maddening blur of things and money, does its best to try and get us to lose sight of—especially when we fall short of our intended reach.
Failures? Absolutely not! Far from it.
Reach for all the potential within you—you won’t reach it by going back or standing still.
Dream of wherever you want to go, or in becoming whoever God is calling you to be.
Expect the unexpected.
Believe the unbelievable.
Then step out and press on, and in the process you will become more than you ever thought you could be—for now, for good, forever, for others and all for His glory!
In His Name—Scott