I love March Madness…

March Madness is a great time of year! I am a huge sports fan in general, but there is something special about the NCAA college basketball tournament. Let me say this: March Madness is even better than the Super Bowl and is only remotely rivaled in intensity and pageantry by something like the summer Olympics or the World Cup. Nothing else has the story lines, passion, “heart” and flair of March Madness.

The beauty of this tournament is in the fact that you have young men (18-22 years old) playing in a one-and-done type of setting. With kids of that age, the emotions run high and anything can happen. I love that the less heralded school can play one amazing game and beat the basketball powerhouse. I love the fans who travel across the country to watch their team play. I love to see the underdogs weave their way through the tournament and beat the ‘big boys’ of college basketball with less height and talent. I love that a school like Butler can ride a wave of emotion to the National Championship game, that was  6 miles from their small campus, to play a perennial power team like the Duke Blue Devils…and almost win! I love that team-work is of more importance than one great player. I love that these young men will show emotion after losing a game and feel no shame. I love that all of the prejudice and politics are set aside for the greater good of the team. I love that March Madness can turn the most casual observer into a “bracketologist” overnight.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons to Love March Madness:

  1. The agony and elation of Selection Sunday…then carried over to each close game there after.
  2. The Buzzer Beaters (think Christian Laettner!)
  3. Teams like Butler Bulldogs (2010) & George Mason Patriots (2006)
  4. Cinderella is a not just for little girls.
  5. The 5 vs 12 game…anything can happen.

The passion and belief of these young men is tangible and contagious. The purity of their passion captures the imagination of thousands each night.

Sometimes when I watch the the players, their passion for the game reminds me of a verse in the Bible.

Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our lives are to be lived in such a way that our passion and purity for the Lord are tangible and contagious…

There is also this encouragement in the letter to the Christians in Rome that said, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.“(Romans 12:11)

To fully capture what is being said here we need to look at a larger portion of Scripture. Romans 12:9-13 says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

When we read that passage we see a contagious faith…when we live that passage others will see a tangible and contagious faith. As Matthew said, “Let you light shine before others…”

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