Basketball and Urgency


This morning, I received a marketing email from Asian Efficiency. In it, the author wrote three harrowing facts:

  1. Half of all heart attacks have no symptoms.
  2. Some tumors don't cause symptoms until it's too late.
  3. Some cancers kill within weeks of their discovery.

With these morbid health facts in mind, the email continued to talk about the urgency in life that these facts should necessitate.

At the same time, I was listening to a podcast on witnessing by David Kim. Kim presented the image of a train barreling down at people who are tied to a railroad track. In urgent situations like this, people can help free these people from the tracks have a responsibility and an urgency to free those in danger.

We are all on the same set of railroad tracks, and the unstoppable steam engine called eternity is swiftly closing in on us. It has been churning away at the same speed for millenia: 24 hours/day. While we don't know where we stand on the tracks, we know that every day is a day less that we have to prepare ourselves and others for the collision with eternity.

In the same podcast, David Kim uses basketball as an illustration. What's the difference between the two sides of the photo above? On the left side, you have people playing basketball. They do it once in a while, but when they put the ball away, they are no longer playing basketball.

On the right side, you have a basketball player. Everything in his life revolves around his mission of being the best basketball player of all time. Even when he puts the ball down, he continues to live a lifestyle of a basketball player.

The above photo illustrates the difference between witnessing (verb) and being a witness (noun). Witnesses (noun) live their life so that they are always playing their A-game, where those who occasionally witness often bring their B- or even C-game to the table.

Basketball players recognize that they have limited amount of time before a big game, and live their life with urgency. People who play basketball on the other hand lack the urgency. When it comes to witnessing, which category do we fall into?