I recently read a novel set in the French Lick and West Baden area of southern Indiana. It brought back personal memories of high school basketball and playing in several of the small towns in that part of the state. Specifically, one of the gymnasiums I remember best was Springs Valley, which in the early sixties was new and ahead of its time in the quality of flooring, lighting. and overall design. We basketball boys were in awe when we went out on the floor.
But what impressed me most is what happened in that same gymnasium about a dozen years later. Larry Bird played his high school basketball at Springs Valley. Larry Bird and I played on the same basketball court! Can you believe that!
He and I have something in common. We are connected.
Okay—so the connection is a little bit far-fetched or extreme, but the connection is there. I began thinking about how we often identify a place, a person, or an event with a connection we have.
Connection is a key word in our Christian walk. We want to be connected to Jesus Christ in every way possible. This was the way the early church grew. The early disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Paul and Barnabas taught and preached Jesus for a year there, with much growth. Why? Because they not only taught about Jesus, but they sought to be like Jesus in every way possible. The people could tell they were connected to Jesus.
Paul sought to do this in all of his mission work. To the church at Corinth he wrote, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1). In other words do all you can to connect with Jesus in every possible way. Earlier he wrote, “Be imitators of me” (I Corinthians 4:16.) He was not being arrogant at all, but rather he was so connected with Jesus that all of his actions and words sought to show Jesus living in him. This was his mission as he spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
That is a great example for us. When we consider all the connections we have in this life, whether big or small, let us keep uppermost in our thoughts and actions to connect with Jesus and the way He lived. Seek to imitate Jesus Christ.