Not long ago, we had a very exciting day at our house. We had the opportunity to celebrate our 17-year-old son Caleb for being chosen for the all-league team for basketball. Now, if you knew this kid, you would know his heart has always been bigger than his height, and we were of course bursting with joy for him. His whole life, he has been that kid who had a ball in his hands–never legos, never toys–just a basketball. From the time he could walk, he could dribble. And his hard work and dedication definitely played into this celebration.
This post isn’t really about that.
My husband and I were sitting DIRECTLY behind the bench of Catholic Central’s bench as they played for league champion. None of our own kids were playing in this game, so it was super NON-STRESSFUL. I had a chance to get an up-close view at the emotions on the bench during a super close game. CC was losing, but at each time-out, I was drawn to #5.
#5 sat at the very end of the bench. His shoes never touched the court. His hands never touched the ball. He wasn’t sweaty. But #5 was INVALUABLE to his teammates. At one time out, he said to the starters who were exhausted from a hard-fought game, “Just a little more!! They are ready to give up! You can’t give up now! They are just about to break!!”
At that moment, I wanted to hug #5. He could have been upset that he wasn’t in; he could have sulked; he could have simply not cared. But he chose to lift up and encourage his team. Loudly, Boldy. In their face.
Every team (and classroom and school staff and family and workplace) needs a #5. Who is that person that cheers you toward your goal? Who gets in your face to keep you focused? Who helps you see that you can reach the end, even when you are positive you can’t? Who reminds you that you ARE capable and worthy and important? That person is your #5. Thank them for that.
Who are you #5 to in your life? Every single player on that team has a role– someone shoots 3 pointers from outside the arc. Someone rebounds in the paint. #5 shouts encouragement for the entire 32 minutes of playing time. They have a role. YOU have a role. You are #5 to someone– don’t take that role lightly. In the crunch, they need you to whisper, shout, remind. Do it, regardless of who is listening. Do it, regardless of the score (because you know we all keep score for everything in life.) Do it, because they need it.
2 Corinthians 13:11 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
So, #5, I see you. I see what you did for your team. I see your role. And I thank you for reminding me of my role. And to the #5s in my life, thank you. I need you – during the easy games and during the hard ones. Keep shouting to me; I promise I am listening.
Back to Caleb– while yes, I am proud of him for those big shots, the way he plays offense or defense or whatever basketball term I should know by now, my biggest hope is that he KNOWS who his #5 is and that in return, he becomes #5 for others.
My same challenge is for you, friends. Find your #5, and become a #5. After all, we all can use some extra cheering these days.