Getting into the NBA

Hey, family! I hope you missed me even a little bit on my month-long hiatus. It wasn’t a planned absence from the world of blogging, but it was certainly what the circumstances demanded of me. It’s great to be back!

This week, I want to talk about a subject that I’ve been reflecting on for a while. In short, this blog entry is a cost analysis.

Everything costs something. The more obvious costs are things like the cost of a shirt. You pay currency to acquire a shirt. In order to earn that money, it costs you time and energy. You give your time and energy in exchange for currency in the amount of what that is worth to your employer. What is harder to calculate, however, are the costs of things like success and glory.

I have the privilege of connecting with lots of young, talented high school students when I go to speak at schools. Often in our interactions, we get to talking about goals and dreams. Among the young men, there are typically a few of them that say something to the effect that they aspire to play professional sports in the NBA or the NFL. That’s an amazing dream. Professional sports is an extremely respectable profession, so that is certainly a dream that I wouldn’t discourage or dismiss. I wonder, though, if these young men truly know what it costs to get there. And moreover, if they’re really willing to pay that cost.

Photo taken from espn.go.com
Photo taken from espn.go.com

Getting to the highest level in professional athletics requires you to discipline your body by training nearly every day, practicing your skill for countless hours, and eating only premium fuel for your body like a high performance vehicle. It means when your friends are hanging out, you’re training. When it’s snowing outside, you still go for your 6 a.m. run. When your friends want to go out drinking, you respectfully decline that invitation even when they say that you’re no fun anymore. You usually have put in enough focus in school to get you playing at the university level, and you can’t do that without the grades. And these are just some of the examples of types of daily sacrifices a person would have to make consistently to get to that level, or close to it.

I love what Jesus has to say about the idea of cost in Luke 14 starting at verse 28:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

It costs everything to follow Jesus, but the reward is worth it.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I do. I get to travel the world, meet amazing people, and have my life transformed while I try to make a difference in other people’s lives. That’s a beautiful privilege. During this process, I’ve had a lot of people say things like, “I wish I had your life.” … maybe, but I’m not 100% sure that they do. What most people don’t see is the tremendous cost of what it takes for me to live life this way. For example, while many of my friends are buying houses, starting their families, and all of those great life experiences, I’m still giving my time and energy elsewhere. Before I continue, I must clarify that I don’t want this to sound like I’m complaining at all, nor do I intend to imply that this type of sacrifice in any way makes me better than anyone. Everyone has their calling. All I’m saying, is that everything has a cost. Compared to the tremendous rewards, these costs are more than worth it to me. I also trust that I will one day, when the time is right, have the rest of those blessings. ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God…’ You should know the rest. If not, google that phrase and it should come up. It’s worth a google.

When embarking on any journey, we should carefully consider whether or not we’re willing to sacrifice what it takes to fulfill the demands of that journey.

In Matthew 13:44, Jesus says that, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

When you understand the true value of something, you know what you’re willing to give in exchange for it. Even more than that, as stated in that last parable, it becomes an absolute joy to sell everything you have when you know the value of what’s in that field.

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