Most of my weekends as a teen were spent in a gym somewhere in the southeast half the year. Back then, half my age ago, I would have told you it was a good weekend based off if we won and how many three pointers I scored in a game. Looking back there are so many things I would want to tell 16 year old Lane about not being focused on self and to pass the ball a little more. But one thing I had instilled in me at 16 that I’m forever grateful for today is the gift of the differences I shared on the court with my teammates were only a beautiful thing. Growing up in the suburbs of Birmingham most people looked like me but on the court we had all shades of color…including the season I went orange from too much tanning. I had girls on my team from all over Birmingham…Pleasant Grove, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Pinson, Vincent, Leeds, Vestavia, Alabaster. We all came together for the love of the game and each brought something a little different to the court. Natasha brought a quiet leadership. Martha brought a laughter to all. Tina made sure we all looked good on the court with makeup before the game and always kept me laughing. Ebonie and Laura Leigh brought a work ethic and love for the game that was contagious to us all. Jana just always showed up always ready to play leading us all to give it all on the court. Lindsay and Ashley encouraged us all with the way they loved us. Megan and Mindy brought a humility to us all by their example. I could go on and on here.
We each were different but we all came together for love of the game and it was actually our differences that made us one of the better teams in the Southeast. Color of skin was one difference that we shared on this team but I can tell you this difference in color was only a sweet joy. We learned from each other on those long weekends away. Parents from the suburbs and city fried chicken together in hotel rooms on overnight weekend trips staying up in conversation. Ebonie if you read this I can still hear your mama yelling “Make your free throws baby.” Conley and Megan I can still taste those oatmeal chocolate chip cookies that you brought to every tournament.
This might be a long stretch but I think I got a little taste of eternity on the AAU basketball court….being in unity with people not like me from all different parts but we all came together for one love. Our differences only made us exalt the love we shared more. Can you see the picture here? Each of us unique in our differences(Im not just talking about skin color but all the differences we all had) but we were the same. Jesus has purchased a people from every nation, tribe and tongue with his blood and for all eternity we will be worshipping God and have a part in the eternal Kingdom of God. We are all the same in Christ(Galations 3:28).
So why does global missions matter? There are about 3 BILLION PEOPLE that have yet to hear the the gospel in the world. That’s Billion with a B and people with a P. Not a statistic. Not just a number but a person created by Almighty God. There are over a thousand people groups that have yet to have any scripture translated into their native tongue. There are people from persecuted nations being scattered all over who have yet to hear the good news of the one they were created to worship some of whom are seeking refuge in our country. Approximately 70,000 people die daily without hearing the saving name of Jesus. “But how can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” Romans 10:14-15. Global missions matters because God is worthy of worship from a people from every tribe, nation and tongue that have been purchased by the precious Blood of the Lamb and Jesus has commanded the church to go and tell all peoples.
Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate.” —John Piper
I have had the privilege of worshipping with believers on the other side of the world and though we come from totally different places and look different on the outside there was an instant unity in Christ. There was an instant sweetness in worship with them as we worshiped our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We knew we were immediate family. Just to think those in Christ will be with thousands upon thousands of people groups all the same in Christ for all eternity worshipping God. The Christ follower has so much to look forward too as we will worship our eternal God who is worthy of all praise with a people from every, tribe, nation and tongue. What a beautiful picture and so much to look forward too!