An Eye For The Gift
Back in 1998 the small Catholic private school saw enrollment slide by a third in only eight years. Its board was staring at a million dollar deficit, but then in the spring, there was a glimmer of light. Their basketball team made it from a 10th seeded spot in the West Region to the elite eight of the NCAA Tournament. Eight months later, they hired Coach Mark Few, and eighteen years later they’re headed to the Final Four.
If you watched Gonzaga’s victory celebration after defeating Xavier 83 to 59 last year, you saw Coach Few at the top of a ladder cutting the net and at the foot of the ladder was a three hundred pound 7ft 1in Pole prepared to save his coach. Coach Few was able to recruit Przemek Karnoski, the most prolific scorer in NCAA basketball history, because he sent his scouts all the way to Poland to find the talent they needed to make Gonzaga a winner.
Only a few years after the death and resurrection of Jesus when the church in Antioch, Syria, began to explode, Barnabas, a church leader from Jerusalem, traveled more than a hundred miles east looking for just the recruit he needed to help him in Antioch.
“Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many were added to the church by the Lord. So he went to Tarsus to search for Saul. When he found him, he brought him to Antioch, and for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met together with the church and taught large numbers. Now the followers of Jesus were called “Christians” first in Antioch.”
Today Gonzaga’s enrollment is soaring, new buildings are being built, and the school is no longer threatened. Why? Lots of reasons, but one was a basketball coach with an eye for talent and the push to travel all the way to Poland to recruit. Jesus’ Church is far more important than a university in the Northwest, and churches need leaders like Barnabas who will recruit, coach, and support gifted young leaders.
LORD, use Barnabas’ example of a leader who had a good open heart, who remembered giftedness, and was willing to go after it. Stir pastors and church leaders to do the same when it comes to recruiting those needed to teach your people today.
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