I can't help it, the National Anthem brings it out of me. The Winter Olympics get my competitive juices flowing. What a thrill to watch the USA Hockey team tie the score with 24.4 seconds left in regulation. The two teams fighting over gold would have to move to overtime. It didn't take long in OT before Jarome Iginla, pinned against the boards, made a blind pass to the give-and-go streaking 22-year-old Sidney Crosby for the final game-winning goal.
So what is the spiritual application? Great question. The part that captivated me was that last blind pass, not the goal. A blind pass means that Iginla could not see Crosby but he knew he was there. The pass eluded two defensemen and found Crosby ready to receive. I love it when a player makes an instinctive play, especially a blind pass. He does not need to see him. He knows where the player should be and he knows his teammate is ready to receive. That is as natural of a baton pass as can ever happen.
Moses passed the baton to Joshua in Deut. 31:7. It seemed natural.
Elijah made a baton pass to Elisha in 2 Kings 2. Naturally, Elisha was right where he needed to be. The most famous of baton-passing-biblical-texts might be John 21:17 when Jesus says for the last time, "Peter feed My sheep."
Paul passed the baton to many, including young Timothy in Phil 2:19-24.
Making a good pass, like the Olympic gold medal hockey pass, should be natural to Alaskans. We are a mentoring, coaching, hands on teaching culture. It should be "first-nature" for us to want to impart what we know to others. Consider the desire of Elisha when he asked Elijah for a double portion of the prophet's spirit to be upon him. He wanted to see double the miracles. Counting Elisha's miracles makes for a great mathematical lesson.
If we consider our own abilities, and what we have to offer, we might ask the following:
* Does anyone want what I have?
* Is it worth doubling?
* Have I been a good steward of my gifting?
* Who can I pass the baton on to?
There is gifting in all of us that we can pass on to others. Start by recognizing God has given us all opportunities to pass on faith. If you don't have someone near, ask your pastor where you are most needed. Start cultivating natural opportunities to mentor (formally and informally) to impart, coach and make a good pass. This will give you an opportunity to someday go for gold and hear, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
J.D. Duncan is the senior Pastor at Peninsula Christian Center, 161 Farnsworth Blvd, Soldotna, 262-7416.
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