By Jeff Miller, District Superintendent
I recently bought a pair of retro Air Jordan basketball shoes, which was more of an investment than I have ever made in sports equipment. No one has yet mistaken me for his airness, Michael Jordan, although I think that is strictly because I don’t shave my head like he does. I will admit that younger guys on the court have noticed the shoes and comment on them. I have made a good impression… until I start the first dribble of the ball.
Equipping ourselves appropriately matters for several reasons. Two stand out: performance and health.
First, performance. Equipment matters in many sports. Some years ago, a man in my church saw the yard sale golf clubs I was using and gasped. He bought me a set of golf clubs that were measured and made specifically for me (note that I am somewhat taller than the average duffer). However, some of our district office team might rightly debate that those clubs have not made any noticeable difference in my links game. In my new high tops my vertical leap on the court has doubled from a one inch vertical leap to a sky high two inch bound (one can now almost see space between shoe and hardwood court. Joking aside, how we equip ourselves truly does impact our performance whether we are talking sports or vehicles or technology or cooking. Or serving God.
Second, health. The reason I got the expensive shoes is that the doctor said I should. (Maybe he gets a kickback from Nike?) My feet were sometimes numb at night. I asked the medical professional why this was. He rightly predicted that I am frugal about how much I spend on shoes and then pound my feet up and down the court while playing ball 4-6 times a week. Better shoes have indeed noticeably helped my feet.
Of course equipping only goes so far. If I am an unhealthy person the right equipment won’t get me to the NBA and make me a dynamo at my job. If I do not have energy, drive, talent and such, then proper equipping will have a minimal effect at best.
So, in your service of the King how do you equip yourself? Do you clothe yourself in Christ? Put on the armor of God? Lace up the fruit of the Spirit? Equipping is equipment but it is also training and development. What are you doing to assure you are emotionally healthy, spiritually strong, physically fit, appropriately rested? Are you more skilled today at using the gifts of the Spirit and talents from the Creator than you were a year ago? What will you intentionally do in the coming days to be a better equipped servant of the King of kings?
We talk about ‘desperate dependence upon the Holy Spirit’. Without being clothed and equipped by the Spirit, we are, well, like a 56-year-old white man who cannot jump or run fast trying to end up on Sports Center Top Ten. Not. Gonna. Happen. As we wade into our ongoing mission to reach the lost among the 7.3 million who live within the Central District, let’s do so with a deep sense of divine expectation and engagement. It will require ongoing Holy Spirit equipment and equipping.