“And I don’t think Michigan State and Michigan did all that well,” said the radio DJ this morning. He was referring to the recruiting ability of each school. Yesterday was National Signing Day.
“Ouch,” I thought.
Not so much for the schools but for the players. Can you imagine working your whole life to play college sports?
You put in the time, you work extra hard at practices, you train more than your teammates, you change your diet, you make sacrifices, you work at mental focus, and you excelled in most, if not all your games.
You make it!
You’ve been recruited. Maybe by a school you’ve dreamed of playing for your whole life.
And then some guy on the radio quips about your school’s choice, “They didn’t do so well.” Which is just another way of saying the school’s coach “recruited bad players” or at least the coach “didn’t recruit the players he should have.”
But that’s the business of sports. Players know where they stand. They know their role on the team. And they do their best not to care what some guy on the radio says about them.
Still, I wonder if it hurts to work so hard and still be told you’re not good enough.
Even if we’re not athletes (and I am certainly no athlete) it’s still a snare many of us fall into. We believe if we just work hard enough, have the right kind of “stats”, make the right kind of “team” then everything will be ok. We’ll be accepted. We’ll be loved. Life will be good.
Of course that isn’t true.
We can work hard, have great stats, be recruited by the right teams and still have people imply or tell us outright that we’re not good enough because we didn’t meet their (or our) standards. (Often we’re the people telling us we’re not good enough.)
Thankfully there is another kind of leader and another kind of team, one that intentionally recruits bad players with bad stats, yet is remarkably successful.
Jesus is a leader who intentionally recruits bad players with bad stats to play on his Kingdom of God team. And from the beginning his team has done quite well.
In Mark 3:13-19 we read:
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means ‘sons of thunder’), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
John MacArthur reminds us:
“Not one of them was renowned for scholarship or great erudition…They were not outstanding because of any natural talents or intellectual abilities. On the contrary they were prone to mistakes, misstatements, wrong attitudes, lapses of faith, and bitter failure…Yet with all their faults and character flaws…these men carried on a ministry after Jesus’ ascension that left indelible impact on the world. Their ministry continues to influence us even today.” 
This makes me incredibly thankful…
Because my stats aren’t great—by some standards they’re downright bad. But Jesus still wants me. He wanted me enough to sacrifice himself for me. And he is able to use me to have an impact on the world around me. Not because of who I am but because of who he is. He is the coach that loves to show his ability through my inability.
Jesus never has a bad recruiting day.