I have the extreme pleasure and privilege to be this year's UNM Men's Basketball Team Chaplin. I had previously been the video coordinator before leaving to work full time at my church Desert Springs to lead the college/young adult gathering. As Chaplin my job is not super complicated, I give a 10-15 minute message to the players who wish to stay for it as well as for Coach Steve Alford and his staff. I am leading the team through a fly over of the bible and hoping to connect the reality that all stories in the O.T. all point and are shadows if Jesus Christ.
Today though for their chapel time before their game against Hawaii I read Psalm 100, a Psalm of thanksgiving. I also read these statistics to them:
1. More than 1.5 billion people around the world live on less than a $1 a day.
2. More than one billion people do not have access to clean water.
3. Every year six million children die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday.
4. More than 50 percent of Africans suffer from water-related diseases such as cholera and infant diarrhea.
5. More than 800 million people go to bed hungry every day, 300 million are children.
6. Of these 300 million children, only eight percent are victims of famine or other emergency situations. More than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency.
7. Declining soil fertility, land degradation, and the AIDS pandemic have led to a 23 percent decrease in food production per capita in the last 25 years even though population has increased dramatically.
8. A woman living in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in pregnancy. This compares with a 1 in 3,700 risk for a woman from North America.
These stats were taken from a sermon from Pastor John Piper, here is the manuscript. The reason I wanted to read these was for these players to and myself for that matter to realize that we are blessed, blessed beyond blessed. Most of these players dream of playing for the NBA and probably most will never achieve this, so my hope was that they realize in the larger scheme of things on this planet having a pair of shoes is a blessing, having clean drinking water and food 3 times a day, heck having food 1 time a day is a tremendous blessing given from our Lord.
I hope as the season goes on that they will see that being sponsored by Nike and playing one of the greatest arenas in sports, "The Pit" are great joys, but nothing compared to the blessing that is offered in Christ. The joy of being redeemed and brought into an unbreakable family, given eternal nourishing bread of life, and being able to drink from the fountain of life, that those things found ONLY in Christ would being their and my motivation to get out of bed in the morning!!!
Well I am off to the game, in my SUV with my beautiful wife and daughter to cheer with 15000 fans for the team, and all I can say is......blessed!