March Madness and the Gospel

MarchMadness-mainIt’s March, and you know what that means. March Madness. For fans of college basketball it’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of games that is nothing less than madness. We cheer on our team if they are selected to go to the big dance, (sorry, not sorry LSU fans), and in other games we pull for the David’s to beat the Goliaths. But there is another type of March Madness that we get excited about as well: Girl Scout Cookies. Nothing like dunking a TagAlong in some milk while you watch Daniel Gafford windmill dunk on someone.

These young ladies, some 1 million of them, sell these cookies with reckless abandon. Some 200 million boxes of cookies will be sold by these hard-working, strategic, and determined girls. They are at your local Walmart, grocery stores, ball games; you name it, and they are probably there. I read an article recently that one Girl Scout decided to pull a wagon full of Girl Scout cookies on a sidewalk in front of a marijuana dispensary in San Diego, California. Talk about being strategic in your marketing. Have the munchies, buy some cookies. She sold $1,500 worth of cookies in less than 6 hours. And although I’m certainly not a proponent of pot dispensaries, I do like Girl Scout cookies. And they take selling their cookies seriously.

TAKING WHAT MATTERS MOST, MOST SERIOUSLY . . .

I’d like for you to think with me for a moment what took place in the first century church that decided to take seriously the command of Jesus to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. To even consider doing such a thing, and going to great lengths to make this message known, these followers of Jesus had to have been deeply committed to this message of the gospel that had supernaturally transformed their lives. You don’t do what these disciples did for a message that was just a sales pitch that might benefit your life some, or help you become a morally good person. This message had so changed their lives and their eternal destiny, that they were willing to risk everything so that the world would know the hope and life that the gospel of Christ gives. That in and of itself had to mean that this gospel turned their selfish hearts into lives willing to be sacrificed for the sake of the gospel. It meant that their focus was not on building their own materialistic kingdoms but rather pointing people to the true kingdom and the King of the kingdom, Jesus. It meant that their prejudices were cast aside because of the love of Christ displayed in a gospel that transcends obstacles and boundaries of every kind so that all could receive the gospel. And because the gospel had wrecked their lives in a good way, they were willing to lay it all on the line to proclaim the reckless love and extravagant grace of God to the nations.

What would happen if, as followers of Jesus, were that deeply committed to the message of the gospel? This gospel that breathes life into the dead soul of a sinner like me, and like you; that gives hope, and purpose; that forgives the darkest stain of sin; that gives birth to a love that is sacrificial and reckless, expressed without measure to a world starving for unconditional, God-sized love that is not capable of knowing or showing without the Spirit awakening us to the love of Christ.

That is the gospel that saves us, and such a gospel would be worth sharing. Not only would it be worth sharing, but it would be like fire burning within us that we could not contain or keep to ourselves. We would have to share this.

What if we stopped asking, “How can I get a better job, or how can I make more money, or how can I live more comfortably, or how can I afford that new car, or how can I become more popular, or how can I get through another day, or how can I avoid rejection, or how can I   (you fill in the blank)  , but rather each day God awakens us to His new mercies by His grace we would ask, “how will I advance the gospel today? Who will I share the hope of this gospel with? How will I love people the way Jesus has loved me? How will I practically make much of Jesus and less of me? How will I be less ego-centric and more gospel-centric with my life? And for those places I can’t go, or the people that I don’t see, how fervently will I pray for God to make His gospel known?

We are serious about a few things, like the March Madness of basketball and Girl Scout cookies. But I wonder how serious we are about what matters most in this life, and the life to come?


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