The Terror of Live Possums

Posted: October 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

I have never been a “Great” athlete. Not an athlete that gets on the medal stand in first place. I have always been athletic though. Growing up I was not the all-star on the team, but I was usually on the team. My sophomore year of high school I was a part of the basketball team. You could usually find me on the bench, but I played my position well. One winter week influenza spread through out our student body. Including the starting 5 on the team. So out of the tragedy of others I got my shot on the court. My first good look at the basket was a 15 foot jumper. I should have taken the shot but I choose to drive the lane instead. I ventured into the land of giants, a territory where a boy with out “ups” should not go. Fortunately, I came out of the paint after being fouled with a chance to knock down a one and one. At the foul line I hit the first shot and missed the second. That was my season high score for a game. OK, I will admit it, that was my point total for the season. One point. Not much to write about, but I did learn some important life lessons that season. One, the bench is a great place to see the action. The last NBA game I attended I sat in the second row from the rafters. From the nose bleed section I looked down at those sitting close to the court. I know those seats in the first row are costly. They look great from the outer stratosphere, I think they actually have wait staff to get their beverages for them. They are great seats but they still are not as good as the seats on the bench. Someone has to pay for the first row seats. In the NBA, even if you are sitting on the bench someone pays you handsomely to sit there. The bench is a great seat, but a real player still hates to sit on the bench. A real player wants to be in the game. That’s why they laced their shoes and picked up a basketball. A great player longs to be on the floor with the ball in their hand, with the game on the line. A great player wants to take the final shot. Do you think for a second that God has picked you and I for his team to ride the bench? Even if you are good at it? Not you and me, we are not bench sitters, we are “players.” We are in the game and the clock is ticking down, it’s time to play to win. Scripture is clear, “Faith with out action is dead.” Read with me James 2:17-18, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Simply put God wants us in the game, making a difference. This Kingdom of God that He is bringing into existence is coming, but He has chosen to bring it through us. If we act the Kingdom will come, if we act not I am sure God will find someone who will, but think of what we will miss. I want to be a player, a great one. Do you? I want a faith that is alive not a dead one.
I grew up in the southern United States. I eat grits. I understand Redneck culture, I can speak it or serve as a translator if you need one. One thing we have more than our share of in the south are these pesky little varmints called possums. After a full moon you can find their carcasses lining the highway. Apparently they have not yet evolved to the level of intelligence that will enable them cross the street with out becoming road kill. I would venture to say that I have seen thousands of dead possums lining the streets of my youth. I never thought much of them, well until one was trapped in our garage. I wonder if you have ever seen a real, live possum up close and in person. Those things are terrifying! They have these little beady eyes, razor sharp claws, piercing fangs and when one was backed up in the corner of my garage he looked dangerous. My wife sent me as the guardian protector of our family into the garage to get him out. Armed with a baseball bat I went out to do battle. Eye to eye with that critter I was scared. There is an enormous difference between a dead possum and a live possum. Live possums are scary! Terrifying might be a better adjective. There is also an enormous difference between a person with a dead faith and a person with a live faith. A person with a live faith is scary, in the best sense. A person with a live faith is active changing the atmosphere around them. You cannot ignore them. They are making a difference. Jesus has called us to live an activated faith, to live as activists not pacifists. We are meant to be alive and living. Because each of us is alive and living the world should never be the same.

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