Tom continued his story of the broken elbow in a second letter. Read the part 1 of the story
II Corinthians 4:7 (TLB) “…Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our own.”
Sometimes I make the drastic mistake of thinking that because of my ability, my strengths and my gifts, God is giving me a fruitful ministry; that without my strengths, things would not be successful and would soon fall apart. God has taught me an important lesson during these past weeks.
It is God’s power, not ours! It should be His glory, not ours!
After seriously injuring my elbow, there was doubt I would play again. There is still doubt sometimes. But my thought was how it would affect my ministry. Didn’t God need my ability to play basketball to win people to Christ? The answer is NO! Because if it was yes, it would be my power not His and my glory, not His.
In July and August, I scheduled one game each day at a different college or university and took a Sports Ambassadors team there to play. At one game I was surprised to be greeted by the players of the other team. Seven of them had been my teammates in the Amateur Championships held a month earlier just before my accident. We placed second in the 40-team tournament, and I was the leading scorer. I was also on the All-Star Team. I played and practiced six months with them.
I had shared my testimony and the Gospel on many occasions when given the chance. Before each game they would not enter the stadium court until we had a team prayer and I was always asked to lead them. I had become close friends with the players, drivers, owners and cooks of the organization. They knew about my elbow, had visited me in the hospital, and really desired to see me recover.
But I wasn’t able to lead one of them to Christ
As the game was played, I found myself cheering for both sides. This is considered a bit disloyal by American standards, but fortunately our guys understood. The halftime testimony was good and the students were invited to talk to the players after the game.
Four of the players of the other team who played with me before the accident asked Christ to take control of their lives after the game. The driver of the team bus also accepted Christ. I was overjoyed! I thought they would not come to Christ because after all those months of playing together, praying together and winning together, I could not convince them about their need for Christ.
It seemed hopeless. But there I was with a broken arm, not able to play and I watched, Willie, Gard, Roul and Edgardo come to Christ. It is God’s power, not ours, and to His glory, not ours, that miracles happen in people’s lives.
II Corinthians 4:15 “…and the more of you who are won to Christ, the more there are to thank Him for His great kindness and the more the Lord is glorified.”
Several games later I was talking with students after the game about Christ and a 25 year old man named Ramon said to me, “Tomas, I want to have a change in my life, too.”
We prayed together in the bleachers and he started coming to a Bible study the next day to begin growing in Christ. I had not played one minute of the game. I only desired to see God’s power used and I was thrilled to see Him work in Ramon’s life.
I want you to know I am glad I have a broken arm because of what God is teaching me in my weakness.
I can use basketball, but I don’t need basketball to be effective for Christ. What I need is a desire to use the power within and see God glorified. Karen and I have more of a desire to serve than ever as God has blessed us even in times of trouble and pain.
As II Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “…our inner strength (in the Lord) is growing every day. So, we do not look at what we can see around us but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not yet seen. The troubles will soon be over but the joys to come will last forever.”