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Categorized | From the Pulpit

March Madness

Rev. Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church 

15671 Algoma Ave, Cedar Springs

 

As a sports fan, I love all kinds of sporting activities but most of all, “March Madness.” Though I don’t go in on any pools, my family all fills out their brackets and we battle each other for the title. I still can’t believe that my wife won last year after not knowing a single thing about college basketball, other than the fact that the best collegiate basketball team is the Michigan State Spartans!

The NCAA Tournament is the most exciting sporting event because of the opportunity for some unknown team to come up and make a huge run. We love to root for the Cinderella team. Why is that? We love to root for the underdog because we have it in our mind that the powerhouse is bad and the underdog is good. This goes back to the greatest underdog of all time, David vs. Goliath.

David, this young teenager with only a sling and a stone goes out against the 9-foot tall champion Goliath from Philistine. I’m taking some liberty here, but I would guess that down deep in their hearts, everyone was cheering for David (even the other Philistines). I believe it is just in us to root for the underdog because we all see ourselves as the underdog. So I think that everyone was rooting for David in this battle, except for one, and his name was Saul.

Saul was the King of Israel and had the most to gain from this victory, yet we see the first recorded “sarcasm” in the Bible. We find it in I Samuel 17:32–37. “32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

“Go, and the LORD be with you.” In other words, “Good luck buddy!”

We know the rest of the story; David succeeds in defeating Goliath with his slingshot and a stone. But what gets sometimes lost is that David will go on to do great things and receive great honor for defeating Goliath, and this will make Saul extremely angry and jealous. In fact Saul will become increasingly miserable and bitter the rest of his life.

The ironic thing is that Saul had all of the things that people strive for. He was tall, dark, and handsome.  He had great power. He was the first King of Israel. He had God’s blessing. He had all of the tools to be successful. But he lacked one thing—humility.

When Jesus came to the earth, He was fully God and fully man. He was God’s Son, He had the knowledge, He could do all kinds of miracles, He had the right to demand and get anything He wanted. Yet we read in Philippians 2:5—11 that He chose to make himself nothing, He humbled himself.  When we humble ourselves, God will lift us up. In a few weeks we will celebrate the greatest story of all time—Jesus resurrection, where He defeated death. This is the ultimate comeback story. This is when “March Madness” turns to “April Gladness.”

Get out to your local church, or find one if you don’t have one, and celebrate the greatest spectacle, the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Join with me in praying for our community and our community leaders as we go through this great Easter season! And “Go State!” (Sorry, I had to do it!)

 

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