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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Napier

Give God Your Best

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

When we were on the West Coast we had a game that fell on a Sunday. I thought it would be a good opportunity to hold a morning chapel. Coach Pearl agreed and gave me the blessing to share with our travel party (team, coaches, support staff) prior to film.

I turned to Malachi, the Iast book of the Old Testament.

In this book, people were still bringing their offerings to the Lord. However, there was a problem. The people's offerings had become merely routine.

Today we don’t sacrifice animals anymore because Jesus died as the ultimate sacrifice. His death was the final sacrifice that covered all sin, past, present and future. However, Before Jesus came and died on our behalf, God commanded his people to bring physical offerings, animal sacrifices and food gifts to atone for their sin.

In the days of Malachi, the people were bringing their sacrifices to the temple but they had lost focus and were going through the motions. They were not bringing their best. God had commanded that only the best should be presented as an offering to the Lord; no one was to come with an offering that was blemished or unclean (Lev.7:19-21).

So, God spoke through his prophet Malachi saying in verse 8:

"When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the Lord Almighty."

It would be like players giving a 50% effort on the court. Would our coaches be pleased? NO!

So, the Creator of the universe was not pleased. They had good sheep but instead they chose the sheep that were defective, running into trees or hobbling on three legs. They thought in their hearts, "Let's give God the three legged blind sheep and keep the best for ourselves."

God was looking down thinking, "Are you kidding me right now! I know how much you spend on yourself. I know what you have, what I gifted you with. That is all you got for me, your leftovers?"

God was angry. He was ready to shut the doors of the temple rather than get a half-hearted sacrifice.

For coaches, theres nothing more aggravating than a player who gives minimal effort. Who would want to coach a player like that?

For the team, giving God our best means giving maximum effort on and off the court, especially when it comes to using basketball as a platform to bring glory to God.

Part of that is being a great teammate.

What are characteristics of a great teammate?

During Bible study, players defined a great teammate as someone who encourages, sacrifices their body, is unselfish and is there for others on and off the court. Coach Pearl concluded by saying, “someone you can trust”.

The people of Judah wanted everything for themselves. They were selfish. They often did not display the characteristics of a good teammate and they didn’t put God first.

My final message to the team was when you give the LORD your best on the court that means NO ONE will out hustle you, no one will play with more TENACITY and GRIT than you! Why? Because you are giving the Creator of the universe, your coaches and your teammates everything you got.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

And you know what? He is worth it.

My hope is that we can all carry this attitude into 2023, giving God our best in EVERY aspect of our lives.


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