Lessons From Kansas Basketball

Core scripture: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14

Message: The 2021-2022 Kansas Jayhawk basketball team sealed their legacy late last night, winning their fourth National Championship with a 72-69 comeback win over North Carolina.  KU erased a seemingly insurmountable 16-point deficit, clawing their way back into the game with tenacity and grit.  This was a special team, and we can learn so much from their success.

First and foremost, this team never gave up.  Senior David McCormack battled a foot injury throughout the entire tournament.  KU endured back-to-back losses to Baylor and TCU near the end of their season.  Remy Martin was hobbled with a knee injury in the heart of their season.  And their homecourt loss to Kentucky was catastrophic.  None of this phased the Jayhawks.

We likewise cannot throw in the towel as teachers.  Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  When the chips are down, we must show resilience and forge ahead.  How?  By powering through state testing.  By encouraging the brokenhearted.  By teaching life lessons that will stick to the souls of our students.  There is so little time remaining, and we must remain steadfast!

Secondly, this Kansas team had unwavering confidence.  Head coach Bill Self chuckled when he said this was not his most talented team ever, but they think they are.  That belief and assurance propelled them to the Big XII regular season title, the Big XII tournament title, and finally the National Championship.  They knew they could do it, and they delivered. 

Confidence for the Christian teacher is essential.  Our confidence is rooted in Christ, and we can indeed do all things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).  That faith is steadfast, undaunting, and immovable.  So, when the Wi-Fi crashes and State testing is pushed back a day, we remain staunch and resolute, knowing the Lord is in charge. 

Finally, every player on this Kansas basketball team knew their role and lived it out.  McCormack was a beast down low.  Agbaji was deadly from the outside.  Braun ran the floor with reckless abandon.  Harris ran the show, rifling passes to the open man.  Wilson crashed the boards.  And who could forget Lightfoot and Martin coming off the bench, sparking the team with fresh energy.  Every man played his part in making the impossible happen.

Every individual in your class plays a powerful role.  You are the head coach, and you set the tempo.  Embrace your strengths and utilize them as you push your students to the finish line.  Empower your students to know their role.  Every kid that enters your class is there for a reason.  Some encourage and help others.  Some lighten the mood, providing clever wit.  Some can be used for pushing chairs in or wiping desks down.  No role is more important than another. 

We may not be playing for the National Championship these last two months of school, but we are playing a vital role in the lives of our students.  You will not be remembered for how the year started or what happened in the middle.  Your legacy will be defined in how you finished.  Be encouraging.  Have fun.  Model consistency.  Make the conscious choice to sprint to the finish.  Choose to finish strong! 

Challenge: What thought impacted you the most above?  Was it the mentality of never giving up?  Was it growing your confidence in the Lord?  Or was it embracing the role the Lord wants you to live out in the classroom?  Whatever it is, take the right steps to make it happen.

Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …

  • Pray that you can empower students to have the mentality to never give up.
  • Praise God for the confidence He gives us through Jesus!
  • Pray that you can live out the strengths God has blessed you with.

Just for fun: This meme below says it all! 

Prayer: Father, help us to not give up and remain confident in You.  Allow us to embrace the strengths You have given us to push our students toward the finish line.  Amen. 

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