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Lessons from the Farm – The Basketball Goalpost

by Bob Yarbrough

As our grandsons, Josh, Jacob, and Joseph, are getting a little older, we felt that they needed some additional activities when they come to the farm. So, last Christmas I purchased a ground-mount basketball goalpost and backboard for the boys to enjoy; however, it did not come assembled. That would be my job; and what a job it turned out to be! It was manufactured in a foreign country with directions printed accordingly (if you know what I mean.) With forty pages of instructions, including as many separate steps, and a parts list that would confound a roomful of mechanics, I ultimately finished the project with a bag full of screws, bolts, nuts, pipes and washers left over. The process was enjoyable and rewarding because I was convinced that I was preparing something that would please my grandsons; and it would be well used. The boys would know that I provided a fun activity for them when they come to visit.

Assembling the goalpost and backboard turned out to be quite a challenge, but the most important part of the whole project (the very first step) was the placement of a four foot section of pipe into the ground. If this was not done correctly, then the remainder of the project would not be right. Not only would the pipe need to be plumb (or level from two sides), it would have to be secured in the ground at the proper depth and width, and with the correct mixture of concrete. After selecting the proper placement, I began the project by digging a hole two feet deep and 18” wide. Then I placed a steel rod inside the four inch pipe and leveled it inside the hole, leaving the pipe about four inches from the bottom of the hole. Next I prepared the proper mixture and amount of concrete and poured it into the hole around the pipe, filling the hole all the way to the top, while making certain that the pipe remained level. I then poured concrete inside the pipe to about three inches from the top. These were necessary steps to support the goalpost and backboard. When this part was finished, the pipe had to “set-up” for three days before proceeding with the remainder of the project. The concrete had to dry thoroughly. I could not hurry this part; it had to be done first and it had to be done correctly. In other words, the foundation had to be right before anything else was right; and that is the point of this lesson from the farm.

“Foundations” have a variety of uses and definitions, and they are important in all kinds of building projects, but they have many spiritual applications as well. Foundations originated in the mind and plan of God (John 17:24). In fact, scripture says that even before the earth’s foundations existed, God, through Christ, chose us “that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4-5).” That foundation was developed in the mind and plan of God; and it is foundational to our faith and security in Jesus Christ. Long ago, the prophet Isaiah declared that God was “the One who has laid a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: and whoever believes will not be dismayed (Isa. 28:16).” That foundation is Jesus Christ.

Throughout the centuries men have attempted to build their lives upon other foundations – false religions, astrology, self-reliance, good works, etc., but to no avail. Scripture makes it clear (Acts 4:12) that that there is no other name than Jesus – not Mohammed, not Buda, not Confucius, not wealth, not pride, not anyone or anything else. Jesus is the foundation for one’s eternal destiny. He said it best himself when he declared that “whosoever believes in Me shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).” Other building materials have been tried but with no eternal success. Peter stated the case well when he replied to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Only You have the words of eternal life (John 6:68).” Since Jesus is the sure foundation, it follows that there is no other upon which to build our life.

To reinforce this in practical terms, Jesus told a parable about how to build one’s life (please read Matthew 7:24-27). The foundation in this parable is based upon obedience to God’ Word – an obedience that is the evidence of true faith (James 2:14). Two construction projects are in view, and they represent two ways that a life can be built. Both men had much in common – the desire to build, the similarity of elevation, the sturdiness of some of the materials. But when God’s judgment came (the storm), one house (life) stood and the other was destroyed. What was the difference? It was the foundation. The successful contractor dug deep (Luke 6:48) and built his house on a firm foundation. Jesus wants us to understand that He is that sure and solid foundation.

Especially is this true when we understand the foundation upon which the church is built. When Jesus declared that he would build his church, He made it clear that it would be built upon himself, “the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).” He was the rock upon which the church would be built. “No one can lay a foundation other than that which is already laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).” Sadly, some churches and para-church ministries have tried to build upon a famous personality, a special technique, or a doctrinal emphasis they thought important. But the foundation is the most important part of the building, because that determines everything else. A ministry may seem successful for a while, but if it is not built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, it will eventually crumble and fade away.

I was pleased to watch my grandsons play a game of basketball the other day. The goalpost and backboard were solid, firm and level; they did not tilt or shake. That is because the foundation was secure. I know the boys did not think a thing about what went into the construction project, but I know. I also know what Jesus did so that I could build my life on the foundation He prepared for me (2 Cor.5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53).

Praise His name! Upon what are you building your life? Better still, upon whom?

 

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

-Bob Yarbrough is a  retired  educator, living in Terrell, TX

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33