Well, my bracket is busted. If you don’t watch college basketball you may not know what I am talking about. March Madness is once again upon us. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are underway.
Every year millions of fans and non-fans alike fill out their brackets, picking who they think will win every game of the tournament. I did poorly this year. My bracket was busted by the second round. The University of Wisconsin was my undoing.
I guess that’s just one more reason to cheer against Wisconsin.
Part of the allure of the NCAA tournament is the possibility of upsets. Every year one or two small or obscure schools pull off the miracle of defeating the mighty Goliaths of college basketball. They become the media darlings. They are called Cinderella Stories.
I love Cinderella Stories. My favorite Cinderella Story is a movie called “Hoosiers,” starring Gene Hackman. “Hoosiers” is the story of a tiny Indiana high school basketball team from a tiny Indiana town called Hickory. In the movie, they won the Indiana State Basketball Championship in 1954, defeating schools ten to twenty times their size.
Though the story is inspiring and heartwarming, sometimes I wonder if we can really call it a Cinderella Story. You see, they would have never made it to the State Finals if Jimmy Chitwood, one of the greatest players ever to play high school basketball in Indiana, hadn’t joined their team midway through the season.
It’s difficult to consider a team the underdog when they have the best player.
Sometimes as Christians, we like to think of ours as a Cinderella Story. We’ve worked so hard for God. We’ve sacrificed so much for our team. We’ve given it our all. We’ve earned that trophy.
The truth is, however, we would never be able to win on our own. The truth is, we are bad. In fact, we’re so bad, we actually score for the other team. Every day we listen to the other team’s coach (the devil) and players (the world) and do what they want us to do. We cave under peer pressure to act like they do. We often end up living and acting and playing like they do.
Incredibly, though, we are still on the winning team – not because of our own hard work, sacrifice or gumption, but because we have been blessed with the greatest player to ever play the game. We have Jesus on our team.
Jesus won it all by himself. The truth is we never even get into the game. We never leave the bench. Jesus took on the other team alone. He made all the sacrifices. He did all the hard work. He won the victory, and yet, he allows us to enjoy the trophy.
Ours is not a Cinderella Story. We didn’t pull off the upset. We didn’t do anything. Jesus did it all. He gets all the credit.
But because we have him on our team, we never need to wonder. We never need to worry whether we have been good enough to win the trophy. He won it for us. All those who are on his team – all those who believe in him – receive the trophy he won for them.
So stick with Jesus. With him your bracket will never be busted.