Watching the greatest

Who is the greatest you have ever seen? There is something special, something almost poetic in watching the greatest perform. Seen in person, a Michael Jordan fadeaway, a Messi shot on goal, a Jack Nicklaus approach shot, a Federer down-the-line running forehand, or a Willie Mayes moonshot would leave an indelible memory.

Perhaps you hang upon every note as Eta James sings or Dizzy Gillespie wails on the trumpet. Or maybe it is the works of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, or Dvorak, brilliantly performed that draw you in. You dare not turn away when the best take the stage, for something great may happen.

People devote time and money to see the greatest athletes and artists. Yet, every day the greatest to ever live, the greatest to ever do life, stands before us. His life, his actions, his words await our attention. “I wrote the former account, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1 NET).

In order to watch the greatest athletes or hear the greatest artists we must turn on the television or radio, buy a ticket, or make other efforts. In order to see Jesus, we must open the Bible and read. And unlike others, the influence of Jesus extends far beyond sport or art, and it extends far beyond this life.

As a youngster, I would watch Michael Jordan play basketball, and then go outside and attempt to emulate him. I spent countless hours working on my shot. I would count down and hit the John Paxson game winning three. I hit ace after ace against the garage trying to look just like Pete Sampras.

While those men exemplified excellence in sport, Jesus is the perfect example of life (Hebrews 4:15). Like children studying their favorite athlete or artist, we can examine and imitate the life lived by the very Author of Life (Acts 3:15; see Ephesians 5:1).

But how often do we take advantage of the opportunity? Do we spend as much time with Jesus as we do with sports or other entertainment? Do we immerse ourselves in His life?

I wanted to “be like Mike,” but I was never going to play in the NBA. I wanted to serve like Sampras, but I was never going to be a Wimbledon champion. Those were childish dreams. Now? Now I want to be like Christ. I want my life to be fashioned by his example (Galatians 4:19). I want his life and his commands to direct my life (Galatians 2:20).

He is the greatest to ever live. He invites you to watch closely, and then go and do likewise.

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