Just say Raptors. And people get excited. They connect. They buzz about their favourite plays.
What a craze. People camping out for games, taking time off work, purchasing tickets for thousands of dollars. All to see their hopes come true – the Raptors win the finals in 6! Celebrations are everywhere. Raptor gear becomes the new hip thing to wear.
And for good reason. The team worked hard, played well and climbed to the top. It’s been a long time since a Toronto sports club brought a win to the city. The Jays did it back in the early 90’s and the Leafs – well let’s just say it was a long time ago…before I was born. And now this relatively young Raptors sports club is claiming their place on the map!
This win went beyond Toronto…it’s bonded people across the province…maybe even across the country.
I’m amazed at this. Think of it.
People like being part of the movement of a winning team. People like being part of something bigger than themselves and part of something that brings them closer together. People want hope, purpose, and a reason to get up in the morning. It’s intrinsic to all of us, to our whole person – mind, body and soul. And the Raptors tapped into this.
Thus too, people like celebrating it! And they will, for a time.
Wired this way
Why is this? I mean we’re not talking a few people wrapped up in this… not even a few thousand. But literally thousands and thousands. And this of course is not the first sports club or event to do this. Hockey, football, soccer, world cup, world series, Olympics…it all draws thousands and thousands of people. Why? Because we’re wired this way – to live with hope and purpose. Take away purpose and life becomes meaningless. Take away hope and you take away the very essence of life.
We look for things in life that bring hope and purpose: our work, our mate, our hobbies, our sports, our relationships, our travels, our existence. Sometimes in the daily routine of life something like a favourite sports team amps up hope and purpose especially when the team seems to rise out of the ash heap and blaze a trail towards success.
We follow it and want to become part of this movement that is way bigger than ourselves.
Stop. Think about what’s going on. Our intrinsic wiring is revealing something about ourselves and our makeup…that there’s something greater going on.
We thrive knowing we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. We thrive knowing we have purpose. We thrive knowing we have hope. We thrive like this because we’ve been designed this way – to be part of more, to live with hope and purpose beyond just ourselves.
Be aware that as we band around a sports team (even ones that don’t always win), we bear witness to the intrinsic design of the One who made us. That as we go through life seeking purpose in all of what we do and in all of who we are, we reveal not a matter-time-chance makeup but created order and purpose. We reveal that hope inspires us and ignites us to keep going.
And beyond the hope of any sports team, relationship, work or aspiration that this world has to offer, there is a greater Hope that comes to us from the God who made us. Because as we’ve all seen, even in much of the comradery, excitement, and celebrating, there’s still grief, dispute, brokenness and fleeting hope. All of today’s wins and celebrations will soon end up in the annals of history. And beyond today’s wins, we’ve got the daily challenges of our own life that we might have for a time laid aside as we celebrated but still await us upon our return. The brokenness of life didn’t go away…we may have just escaped it for awhile.
As we skip from one hope to the next in an exhaustive frenzy of seeking lasting hope…stop. Pause and consider the God who made us, who wants relationship with us through His Son Jesus Christ. You see, when all things were created good in the beginning, and God set man and woman over all things, that wasn’t good enough for them. They decided to go for the one spot not meant for them…they attempted to go for ‘God’. This rebellion caused everything, including people, to be thrown into brokenness and sin and disconnectedness from God.
But He didn’t want to keep it that way. So He made reconnection possible through Jesus Christ, His only Son, who came to give Himself as the ransom for people at the cross of Calvary. But the brokenness of this world still lingers until all things will be made new at the end of time.
And here’s the connection…we will chase anything to make the pain of sin and brokenness go away – even for a time – because we need hope and purpose beyond the challenges of the broken world we live in. We chase other things like sports, work, travel, whatever to fill the void… because if we acknowledged the God who made us and His Son Jesus whom He sent, our allegiance would be to Him as our lasting Hope being Lord and Saviour. In calling Him Lord we’d acknowledge He is over us and directs us; in calling Him Saviour we’d confess a need for our affections to change and our lives to take on new purpose serving Him and others. We’d no longer do as we please because as His life was given for ours, we’d now live with a huge debt of gratitude in our entire being – mind, body and spirit.
And so we come full circle. Our mind, body and spirit needs to live and thrive with hope and purpose. It’s how we’re intrinsically designed. But the satisfying of this longing is only possible with eternal perspective.
As the wise saying goes, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
If we only feed hope and purpose with things of this world, we will ever be chasing one highlight after another and we will exhaust ourselves in desperation. But if we set our hope in Jesus, someone so much greater than ourselves, (beyond this world), we can come to rest in the God who made us, yes who made us for much more, for the eternal. That’s where hope goes beyond this world because Jesus not only died for us but also rose for us, lives, and reigns on high, and will come again to usher in a new heaven and new earth. This earth of brokenness, sin and pain will be done away with, for good.
But it’s not here yet. So beyond living with hope, we also live with purpose now. Purpose to serve our Lord Christ and those around us…to love them and witness to them this hope that we have. Even in this Jesus took the lead and gave of Himself in the pouring out of His Spirit to enable us to love and serve as He loved and served, towards this hope everlasting. So live with this hope, and with this purpose, all the while with gratitude for it all.
And do celebrate the Raptors win. Enjoy the season of celebrating. But celebrate with eternal perspective realizing that even in the celebrating we bear witness to the God who made us.
And when it passes, know that there is an eternal hope and purpose that anchors us for an eternal celebrating on the new earth awaiting all those who accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their life today.
I hope to see you there.