Even the most uninterested enjoy One Shining Moment.
For nearly 30 years, CBS ended the 67 game NCAA men’s basketball tournament with a montage of emotions, faces, game highlights, and big moments accompanied by the pop song, One Shining Moment, a catchy tune whose opening line is “The ball is tipped.”
When Virginia’s Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy celebrated their overtime victory, they celebrated both the championship and the recovery from last year’s tournament game of infamy.
Millions worldwide saw Guy’s semifinal heroics when he scored six points over the last seven seconds of the game, including three clutch free throws before 70,000 fans. Guy stepped to the line with less than one second on the game clock and trailing Auburn University by two points.
The first of his three attempts drew his team within one. When he made the second, he tied the score. The third shot provided the winning margin, sending his University of Virginia to the first title game in school history. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.
One Shining Moment highlights one great play, but that one great play is made by doing the same basic actions again and again. I don’t know Kyle Guy, Matt Mooney, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, or any of the terrific players competing in this year’s tournament, but I do now the game of basketball. I know for a fact that every player on every team has been working on his basketball skills for at least a dozen years or so. Running, dribbling, passing, catching, jumping, shooting, and lifting – all the necessary moves that went into each player’s One Shining Moment.
I guarantee when Kyle Guy hit the corner three late in the semifinal game and when he stepped to the free throw line for those pressure packed shots, that was not the first time he took and made those shots from those spots on a basketball court. Granted, it’s the first time he’s done that in a final four matchup, but it wasn’t the first time he’s done it as a basketball player. If asked, I suspect he’d say he’s made those shots thousands of times in a gym, a driveway, or on a playground.
You don’t develop the ability to make those shots in a high level, high pressure situation without making those shots countless times in less intense moments. There is a correlation to Christian discipleship.
When we face a great opportunity, a passionate temptation, or a significant trial, our responses in the moments will be the result of the myriad of minor actions over a long period of time.
Think about it:
You don’t develop a theology of death when your mom dies that carries you through the pain of the moment. Your theology of death must be established long before the tears begin to flow.
You don’t learn to defeat lust when the image flashes across your television screen or the phone in your hand. You must have rehearsed your battle plan when the dopamine wasn’t flooding your brain cells.
You don’t establish a worldview at the moment of exposure in the classroom. You must have practiced viewing creation through the prism of God before a teacher persuaded you that perversion is progress in human development.
You don’t determine if your recent increase in income will promote materialism or the mission of Jesus Christ the day you get a raise. You must have put in place when you were working for minimum wage what your approach to money and riches will be.
As a former athlete, I can attest that ball handling drills in the driveway, chasing down clanged shots on a windy playground, and conditioning a body for a season that is six months away can be little fun. No fans cheer you on in those instances. The hours are lonely, tedious, frustrating, and ultimately rewarding.
I’d love to ask Kyle Guy or Matt Mooney about all the hours he put in to his basketball game and if he regrets any of it. You already know the answer.
Developing spiritual maturity that allows you to shine like Jesus in your One Shining Moment happens in daily practice of your Christianity.
Choosing to read your Bible today. Choosing to spend time in prayer with God today. Choosing to gather with God’s people on the Lord’s Day unless providentially hindered. Choosing to connect with another Christian disciple today so your iron is sharpened by his. Choosing to deny self today. Choosing to submit to the Holy Spirit today.
Choose to engage today in the basics of Christianity so in the moment when you need your Christian maturity, you’ve already taken that shot thousands of times.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.