Friday, April 11, 2014

Robert Horry and the Church

I was never allowed to play point guard. Not like it was against the rules in my house growing up or anything like that, but I just wasn't good enough at handling the ball as a kid for any coaches to think about letting me run the point. I was also tall and uncoordinated for my age until high school, so I played down low during my formative years and dribbled the ball on rare occasions at most. If the ball came to me on a rebound, I looked for the nearest fast guy on my team and passed the ball to him. I still instinctively do that in pick-up games to this day--I don't dribble the ball up the court.

In 1992, Robert Horry was selected with the eleventh pick in the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. Horry would go on to play 16 seasons in the NBA and win seven championships, helping the Rockets, Lakers, and Spurs all get rings. No player who didn't play for the 60's Celtics has won more championships than Robert Horry, not Michael Jordan, not Kobe Bryant, and not Lebron James. Horry was instrumental in many of those title runs, earning the nickname "Big Shot Bob," due to his knack for hitting clutch shots at the end of games. Many of you probably haven't ever heard of Horry, unless you're an NBA fan like myself you probably don't remember much about him. Most likely he won't ever be in the hall of fame, but he is a perfect example of someone who utilized his talents and played his role on his team to perfection. I mean, it was like he was always wide open at the end of games, ready to knock down a three.

Each team needs a superstar, and each team needs players to fill holes and play roles on the team in order to be successful. Robert Horry played with Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'neal, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Duncan. He was never relied on to be the superstar, he just needed to do his job.
If Robert Horry walked out on the court, gave Shaq a fist bump, and then said, "This is my night, big fella, I'm going for 50." Shaq would have slapped the back of his head. The Lakers didn't need Horry to be gunning for big point totals each night. In fact, if he tried to be the superstar they would probably lose more games than they'd win. They needed him to facilitate Shaq and Kobe, play good defense, and knock down wide open threes. If he deviated from his role, the team would suffer. Robert Horry's career is a study in self-awareness, commitment to a group effort, and the importance of knowing one's role.

The Church could learn a lot from Robert Horry.

In the 1990's, President Clinton invited Billy Graham to a rally for his campaign. This was in the midst of President Clinton's infamous sex scandal, so there were many people upset with Rev. Graham for attending the rally. Some people equated attending the rally with condoning the immoral behavior of the President (imagine that!). When pressed about why he was there, knowing all the bad things Clinton had been accused of doing, Rev. Graham answered simply, "It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and my job to love."

Billy Graham from the corner...YES (Marv Albert voice)

Billy Graham wasn't confused as to what his role should be. He didn't have to think twice about being at the rally. He was there to love people, because it is his job to love people. From the standpoint of how we as followers of Jesus treat people we disagree with--people we call "sinners"--this statement should hit us right where we live. We need to give up the ball to someone who can actually dribble.
Oftentimes the Church is guilty of getting its role confused with the role of Jesus. We, as a church, can find ourselves equating membership in our club with salvation, and try to get people into church instead of allowing Jesus to do the saving. NT Wright says it better (as is always the case):
"Only when we grasp firmly that the church is not Jesus and Jesus is not the church--when we grasp, in other words, the truth of the ascension, that the one who is indeed present with us by the Spirit is also the Lord who is strangely absent, strangely other, strangely different from us and over against us, the one who tells Mary Magdalene not to cling to him--only then are we rescued from both hollow triumphalism and shallow despair." 
The church tries to fill the void left by a Jesus it presumes to be absent from the world, when in fact He is as present now as ever. He is still Lord, and is now King of His Kingdom. The Church is merely His servant on earth. If you try to put the Church, your church, or your pastor on the pedestal reserved for Christ, you will be doomed for despair when humans prove themselves human. The Ascension of the risen, fully-human Jesus shows us that He is in the heavenly dimension, running the show. It goes against the idea that "heaven" is a non-material realm of spirits, which only proves the importance of this life, this body, and this Church. We broken jars of clay are holding the Truth of the universe and are charged to be ambassadors of love in a world desperate for it. When we get our role confused we do anything but draw people to the love of the resurrected Savior who sits on His throne forever. Let the Savior save, let the Almighty be all-mighty, and be ready to hit open shots.  

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.