I believe that I have a good sense of humor, but embarrassingly, one way that my body works too hard is with puns. I often find that puns can be clever or corny and appreciate both to some extent. But by favorite kind of puns are the ones that bring about a certain irony. And there is a certain irony in 1 Corinthians 9.27 where Paul writes that “I buffet my body and subdue it” The irony of course is that the word he uses to train it “buffet” is spelled the same as buffet – as in “all you can eat”. We need to buffet ourselves against the buffet.
Yah, so anyway, Baylor senior guard Brady Heslip – a fellow Canadian and one of the top 3-point shooters in the NCAA, but Baylor was not his first choice as place to play college ball. Originally committed to Boston College, he did not play his freshman year. Then the coach was fired and Heslip transferred to Baylor. That meant sitting out a year. And as you can read in this article from Sports Spectrum, Heslip knew that he was overweight. He also knew that if he wanted to play college ball, he would have to get back in shape. So during his year of ineligibility, he made some changes to his workout habits and to his diet. He buffeted his body, training it. And he lost 24 pounds. Later that year his game would get noticed, especially in a huge NCAA tournament win against Colorado.
Also, after transferring to Baylor, Heslip made another change in his life – with the guidance of Baylor head coach Scott Drew, Heslip was introduced to the Christian faith and made following Jesus a central part of his life. He sums up his journey like this.
“It just reassures that God really does have a plan for all of our lives. If you pray about it and want to learn about it and want to get to know Him, He will do works for you. He will speak to you, sometimes indirectly, and just show that He really does have your back, and He is looking out for you. He will put you in places you need to be, and as long as you stay close to Him and try to grow in Him, He will work for you.”
Here are my takeaways from his story:
1- Christianity is not for the complacent – 1 Corinthians 9 is challenging for us. It is easy to coast, but as a wise person once pointed out to me, the only way to coast is downhill. It is easier to eat junk then it is to eat healthy, it is easier to be lazy then it is to exercise and it is easier to coast in life then to truly follow God with our whole heart – but in each of these cases, the work is worth it. We can have the assurance of salvation when we surrender our lives to Christ, but to truly love Him is to live by His standards and that takes effort. We can always keep training. There is no coasting in following Christ.
2- Waiting doesn’t mean stopping – God doesn’t always move when and how we think he will, but as we wait to see what he is doing, that does not mean that we stop everything we are doing. We keep living for Him where we are and being equipped to do what He asks us to do. Heslip had to wait a year to play ball, but he used that time to prepare for when that moment came, so that he could be ready to jump in and be successful. While we wait for God to open whatever door He is going to open, we can continue to grow closer to Him and be ready so when that door or another door opens, we can be ready to step through and see God work through us.
As Baylor enters this tournament, and March Madness hits, I am looking forward to seeing how God will use Heslip and others in the tournament who love Him to share what God is doing in their lives. Keep checking back over the next 3 weeks to read more stories of Christ-followers in the NCAA Tournament.