What if the earth is invaded by aliens, but instead of swiftly destroying our national monuments and wiping us out, they pit the fate of humanity’s future on a game of 5-on-5 basketball? Lose, and mankind is enslaved for eternity; win, and the aliens leave mankind alone, and leave in peace. The humans are benefited with the option of selecting any player, past or present, alive or not, from any era of either the ABA or NBA. If faced with this scenario, who would you pick for humanity’s starting five? In whose hands would you put your eternal fate? Such is the scenario The Ringer’s Bill Simmons evokes in his 2009 book, The Book of Basketball, in order to “scientifically” or logically determine the five best NBA players in the entire history of the game. But despite the silly framework, it’s surprise how often Christians apply similar logic when thinking about those who serve the church and engage in Christ’s mission of gospel proclamation. We often use the same system when picking our theoretical Christian “all-star” team — choosing the most holy, the ones who follow all the rules. But I think we have it backwards: God doesn’t always go after the big, the strong, the mighty, or the most qualified. He doesn’t enlist those with the most power or prestige or pedigree behind their name. He doesn’t recruit holy heroes. In fact, when looking at who God chooses to do his will and proclaim his gospel and carry on the message of his kingdom of grace, we would have to say that his choice is incredibly strange. In this edition of the Ministry Minded podcast, I attempt to show the surprising connection between aliens, basketball, and the confounding choice of God.
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I’m Brad Gray and I serve as the Senior Pastor of Stonington Baptist Church in Paxinos, Pennsylvania, where I live with my wife Natalie, daughter Lydia, and son Braxton. Besides pastoring, I spend most of my time writing, reading, and ministering in many more ways. I am resolved to faithfully and fervently propagate the gospel of “grace upon grace” for the weary and the worn out. It is my sincerest desire to live and minister all “for the sake of the Name.” (3 John 1:7) So long as Christ is exalted, that is enough.
Grace: So Much More Than You Know & So Much Better Than You Think, Brad J. Gray
The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons
“The truth about callings,” Jon Acuff
“God’s Strange Choice,” Charles Spurgeon
Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Tullian Tchividjian
Life Is Impossible: And That’s Good News, Nick Lannon
Intro music: “Day 28” by Ryan Little.