This past Sunday the San Antonio Spurs won their 5th NBA championship. Although I am from Michigan and am proud of it, I couldn’t help but root for the Spurs. As one watched the Spurs play, it was obvious they played unlike any other team in the NBA, which is probably why they are celebrating a championship right now while other teams are trying to figure out what went wrong.
In the midst of the Spurs incredible playoff run I was intrigued by many different levels of this team. Because I am a Christian, it was hard not to compare their season to the Christian life. Here are three examples that a Christian can take away from the San Antonio Spurs championship season.
The teamwork that was portrayed by the Spurs this season, and every season for that matter, is a great example of many different pieces working together for a common goal. This concept is useful in a myriad of different aspects in our society. Whether it is in business, government, or church this idea of teamwork is essential. The value of teamwork cannot be stressed enough.
As Christians it is imperative that we embrace the concept of teamwork just as the Spurs do on the basketball court. Ephesians 4:16 refers to Christians as the Body of Christ and just as the body needs the different members to function properly so does the church. The members of the Spurs team had a role, knew their role, and achieved greatness. So too should Christians know their role in order to achieve greatness in Christ.
Last year at this time the Spurs found themselves in a similar position. They were up 3 games to 2 in a best out of 7 series. Once again they were facing Lebron James and the Heat. They had the opportunity to win a 5th championship in their grasp. A few poor bounces and one big shot from Ray Allen later the Heat were celebrating as the 2013 NBA Champions. This heartbreaking loss would have dismantled a weaker team. Some players would have looked to be traded or they might have placed the blame on each other ending in a divided unit. The Spurs took a different approach. Instead they used the heartbreaking defeat to fuel them to get better. They studied game film and worked on their communication. This perseverance is why this championship series looked much different than last year’s.
As a Christian it is easy to be discouraged. When you work toward the things of heaven as opposed to the pleasures of this earth there is little instant gratification. Perseverance in time of doubt or trouble is what allows us to eventually rise to true greatness. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs had a big 3. The Heat had Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Spurs had Tony Parker, Manu Ginóbili, and Tim Duncan. The rest of the players on each team are considered role players. The remarkable thing is that the man who won the Championship MVP was a 22 year old Kawhi Leonard. Perhaps the biggest difference between the Heat and the Spurs is that the Spurs have some young players that are realizing their role and becoming more of a factor in the game.
As Christians mature in their walk, they grow in the Lord and strengthen their faith. We see a mentoring relationship within the Spurs organization which is why they have been able to be so successful for so long. In the mid 90’s the Spurs center David Robinson (who is a Christian) started mentoring Tim Duncan, 15 years later we see the generation of mentoring continue within the Spurs organization.
Just as Paul mentored Timothy in the Bible so should Christians have a heart for mentoring other Christians. Mentoring not only profits the person being mentored but it also profits the person doing the mentoring. It gives the those being mentored direction and a chance to avoid mistakes, and it gives those that are mentoring a chance to pass on truths and past mistakes in order to further the kingdom of God long after they have passed. The Spurs have embraced this idea of mentoring on the basketball court and it is imperative that Christians embrace it in the church.
The San Antonio Spurs are the 2014 NBA Champions and they did it the right way. They have the heart of champions and have played like champions. My team didn’t even make the playoffs, and it is because they didn’t have these three key components. In order to be Champions for Christ we as believers need to embrace these three components and put them to work in our church.