Winning From the Bench

by Stan Mitchell
basketballgym.jpg“I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
The greatest moment in the season was also the hardest for Greg. He suffered exquisite satisfaction, raw, cutting-to-the-heart hurt when it happened. They had just won the state championship.
And they had done it by benching him.
It had been a tactical move by the coach, because Greg was a sweet outside shooter, and Pete was faster, more athletic, a player more accustomed to an up tempo style of basketball.
So after starting all season, and averaging sixteen points a game, Greg sat on the bench, fuming, yet at some level understanding the decision.
And they had won!
As the final seconds of the game wore off, as the crowd exulted in their win, as Pete was mobbed by teammates after leading all scorers with twenty-four points, Greg thought: “I can’t do it. I can’t shake his hand. It hurts too much.”
He knew that only a poor teammate would feel this way, but he couldn’t help it. It was too hard.
Then he remembered the scripture he had heard that Sunday: “I can do all things” (Really? Even when the words were stuck like flies on wax paper in his mouth, and as tasty?).
He heard himself say the words: “Well played, Pete.”
And he heard Pete say something unexpected: “Greg, we only got here on your jumper. Everybody knows that!”
With Christ’s help, Greg had done something more difficult than breaking a full court press. He had been a good teammate!

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