Converting “March Madness” into a means toward maturity

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament … otherwise known as “March Madness” … begins this week. Starting with 68 teams (did yours get in?) it will take three weeks of nearly non-stop dribbling to culminate with the crowning of a “National Champion” on Monday, April 3rd. It’s been estimated that more than 50 million Americans will participate in office betting pools, costing companies upwards of $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the tournament’s first week alone! Employers report other changes in employee behavior as well, including an increase in sick days used, extended lunch breaks, and even rescheduling conference calls around televised games. Five years ago, an MSN poll found that 56% of respondents, equivalent to 77.1 million employees, planned to devote at least one hour to “March Madness” predicting. Add to this the untold millions more who will be glued to their TVs, tablets, smartphones and computers, simply watching the games!

Don’t get me wrong … I thoroughly enjoy this time of year and this brand of basketball. In my opinion, the NBA [“not basketball anymore”] pales in comparison to the energy, drama, and spirit of the NCAA tournament.

But since this is a blog about disciple-building … “equipping & mobilizing men to follow Jesus” … I propose a more significant and fulfilling challenge than creating a pool where daily winners and losers are predicted during this tournament … one that will aid our growth toward maturity in Christ … an investment that will yield eternal dividends!

  • For every 20-minute half of an NCAA tournament game watched on TV, tablet, smartphone or computer during these next three weeks, let’s also commit to read one chapter out of a book … any book! … on discipleship or “following Jesus” … including the Bible!

Here’s how this will work … NCAA games consist of two 20-minute halves, so simply keep track of every half of a game that you watch on TV, tablet, smartphone or computer, then later that day or week, read one chapter for every half watched. Don’t cheat! … viewing even part of a half counts as a half. This may help us “redeem” some of that time spent watching the nearly endless stream of pick-&-rolls, slam-dunks and 3-point-shots!

Need book recommendations? Check out the titles and links on the right side of this blog under the “Worth Reading” column. Suggest a title not listed by leaving a comment below. Remember, the Bible counts, too!

Happy watching & reading! May the best teams win … and the best books get read!

Peace & Joy!

~ tr

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