A new boy from the neighborhood joined us at basketball camp tonight. He easily is the best shooter in the group. At only seven years old, he can hit all net from the college three point range. Amazing. Wearing flip-flops, too. I look forward to seeing what he can do tomorrow when he wears proper shoes.
You might expect a talent like that to be pretty sure of himself, even unwilling to take coaching from an adult. Not this kid. He listened and made adjustments when I pointed out a better technique for passing and catching the basketball. He listened and applied again later on when I helped him discover a better stance for dribbling the basketball.
He is teachable. If he continues that way, he could be a great basketball talent in the coming years.
Basketball takes hard work. I was never a naturally great talent at sports. I could do many sports–I did well in basketball after a fashion–but I had to work hard at it. Very hard. I was teachable. Being teachable helped me to extend my shooting range from 10-15 feet to NBA 3 point range when I was in high school and college. It also taught me to see the floor, protect the ball, and work hard.
When I think about that seven year old boy, I grin at his prospects. Not just for basketball, but for life. Each evening at the camp I share a five minute devotion from the Bible. Pure gospel teaching. I looked into his eyes as I spoke. He was tracking with me attentively. He was hungry for more. Not just basketball, but life stuff. You know, the gospel, Jesus, hope. So teachable.
My heart melts when I think of this child and his companions from the apartments. So many stories in their lives. Dreams drowned out by the noise of high density dwellings and shifting parental priorities; hopes kindled as well by youthful enthusiasm and the message of the gospel penetrating the varied layers of veneer. There are a lot of hard hearts. But there are soft hearts as well. I pray that my hard heart will be broken by the passion of Jesus Christ so that I might be a willing vessel of grace to these families.