During the March Madness hoopla of NCAA basketball, our nation lives with the evident reality of a shot clock.
There was a time when college basketball did not have a shot clock. You may remember when collegiate basketball players could stand around the top of the key on a basketball court, passing the ball to one another for an interminable period of time. Back and forth they went, one pass and then another, no movement on the court. It was called a “stall.” Nothing had to happen. The game could be slow. A team could take control of the ball and never give it up.
The NFL suffered a similar predicament years ago. A football team that had the lead in a game was able stand in the huddle and watch the game clock wind down. The players could be complacent as they coasted to a victory.
But stall tactics and complacency did not play well with the public. It wasn’t in the spirit of the game to do nothing. The lack of action turned a contest into the gathering of a comfortable clique. So changes were made.
The NFL implemented a play clock in 1976. Teams would no longer stand around in the huddle. They had to play. Urgency was added to the equation.
In 1985, the NCAA initiated a 45-second shot clock. The stall was coming to an end. By 1993, the time on the shot clock was reduced to 35 seconds. Then, in 2015, only 30 seconds were allowed to make a shot. Officials were making sure the game would be played.
Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15 ESV) The Savior let us know that the shot clock is ticking. Time is short. His redeemed people are not meant to dawdle in a huddle. We are not called to gather in comfortable cliques. Sharing the Gospel involves a sense of urgency and a course of action. Jesus is coming soon. We are called to play.
What is Jesus’ shot clock telling you about sharing Christ in your relationships? How is it directing your church to reach into the community? How is it leading you to be in mission and to move forward with God’s Kingdom?
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By: Rev. Michael W. Newman
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area C