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  • Sports Night Theology

    A couple days ago I was at the gym working out on the machine next to my friend Johanna, as is our norm several days a week. We were chatting about our days at work, our recent trips to visit family, and the like. And as it often does these days, our conversation turned to the lessons we’ve learned reading a book called Radical by David Platt. The book isn’t on sale yet, but we happen to work for the publisher, so we’ve each read the early manuscript.

    I won’t go into the all the details of the book–there’ll be time for that when it does release–but I will say that this is the most challenging book I’ve ever read. It’s been the cause of many in our department lamenting, “David Platt is ruining my life!” Roughly translated, that means that we’ve come across something in our lives that David’s book is making us look at in a new light. It’s convicting. And life changing.

    One of the biggest areas that many of us–especially me–are being challenged in is caring for the poor and orphans. We say that we love Jesus, yet we so often ignore “the least of these.” David challenges readers of Radical to sacrifice and give to those in desperate need. But what does that sacrifice look like to each of us individually? How much is enough?

    So sweating away on our ARC machines (kind of like a cross trainer), Johanna and I discussed the personal applications of just those questions. We talked about the tug on our hearts to honor God with our choices, to bring glory to His name, and love those in need. But we couldn’t come up with any firm answers–nothing set in stone for whether it’s okay to buy the new tennis shoes, video game or television in light of the blessings God’s given us.

    And that’s when I remembered a scene from Sports Night, one of my favorite TV shows. In it Casey draws his boss Isaac for his Secret Santa. Wanting desperately to get the right thing, Casey asks Isaac what he’d like. A cheese grater. So Casey goes out and gets 12 of the best cheese graters he can find and lets Isaac pick. But Isaac never really cared about the grater. Instead he quotes an old monk as saying, “I don’t always know what the right thing to do is, my Lord. But I think that the fact that I want to please you, pleases you.”

    Now I’m not in the habit of getting my theology from old TV shows, but I think there’s some merit to the idea that when we seek to please God, we do. When we yearn to do the things that bring glory to God, that pleases Him.

    We won’t all answer David Platt’s life-ruining questions the same way. But if we earnestly seek to please God with all that we are, we please Him.

    Watch the video for the whole scene and see what Isaac does with his grater. 

    Do you suppose that the gifts of love we give God go on His shelf, too?

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