Living on Purpose: Jesus did not call us to be a bench-warmer

Published 11:30 am Thursday, November 16, 2023

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By Billy Holland


I’ve watched Kentucky basketball since I was a kid, and I admit that sometimes I do get a little carried away. I was reading an article a few years ago and was intrigued by a comment from the father of one of the players, who was a top 10 NBA draft pick. He was asked about the first time he recognized that his son was going to be a special player, and he explained that it had a lot to do with the way he held the ball, even at an early age. He said his son’s body language revealed a deep bonding connection, a reverential respect and a level of love and commitment that was more than a trend or impulsive fad. This vision became the heart and core of his imagination, and his determination could not be stopped. You may have already figured out where I am going with this.

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Sometimes, a story or a phrase captures our attention, and when I thought about these comments, I went straight to my office and began writing. I’m not being negative for being passionate about our gifts and talents, but when it comes to priorities, there is nothing wrong with checking the intentions of our adoration. Most everyone has interests and hobbies, but if our love is not for God and all people, then we are probably dedicating our worship to something or someone else. I began to ponder: do I read my Bible with excitement and anticipation like that young man holds a basketball? Is my mind constantly focused on a desire and zeal to accomplish God’s will? Do I spend as much time in prayer and study to become all that God has called me to be as he does in the gym practicing for a championship? Laziness and apathy are a formula for failure, especially in God’s kingdom. No doubt this explains how a sluggish and lukewarm attitude is the reason why many of us have spent too much time on the bench instead of being a starter on the front line for His service.

It’s been said that nothing significant has ever been accomplished without passion and this especially applies to our relationship with God. The Bible is a direct link with who God is and what He wants, so when we neglect His instructions, we are actually ignoring Him. His Word is living truth and the most incredible navigation system on earth because it can literally speak divine wisdom and direction into our mind and spirit. So, if we believe His promises are designed for our lives and they never fail, the problem is more of a lack of enthusiasm and faith to embrace them than He is difficult to understand or trust.

You would think the Bible would be the most highly sought-after and exciting resource in the world, but it is usually the last resort. Why? Well, we could make a list of reasons and excuses but to save space and time, we should go ahead and acknowledge the number one answer is “love,” or maybe I should say the lack thereof. What do you mean? Too often, we only think about God when we need Him instead of because He is the center of our lives. The reason why you and I do not spend five hours a day practicing basketball is because we do not love it that much and the same is true with everything else that are whims instead of passions. I need to spend five hours a day in prayer and then I might have enough spiritual discernment to know what He is saying. Am I really too busy for God? Are you?

We invest our time, energy, and enthusiasm into what has captured our hearts and will always give more attention to what or who we adore. This sounds elementary, but actually, it’s so profound it goes right over our heads. We can attempt to justify and make excuses, but in the end; we choose how we live. Most of us know what we should do, but sadly our rebellious nature against God is usually more persuasive than our willingness to obey Him. If we only had a stronger fervency for developing an awareness of His presence and becoming more like Christ, we could become a champion for His glory.

Dr. Billy Holland lives in central Kentucky with his wife Cheryl, where he is a Christian minister, author and community chaplain. To learn more about Jesus and the Christian life, visit: