An Astounding Display
Just what does it mean to “store up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19)? What does it look like to “seek first the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 6:33). And what does it mean “to share with others” (Hebrews 13:16)? I saw what this looks like in a powerful way on my recent trip to Bosnia. I would like to share this experience with you, but as I do, I want to make sure that as I honor the individual who performed this act of surrender, that we would see the One who prompted this, and displayed the greatest act of surrender ever.
I had the joy of traveling to Bosnia (a wonderful ministry trip to Hungary preceded it) with John Vanbiesbrouck and his son Ian during the dates of June 17-23. We ministered alongside of Brad Collins, who is a missionary in Sarajevo. Much of our time was spent in working at a Hockey Camp that Brad had developed. The camp consisted of approximately 80 kids, including their leaders, who ranged in age from 16-22. The vast majority of these young people were Muslim. Bosnia is a difficult country to minister and hockey seems to be a good tool to reach into these young men’s lives. The significance of John and his son being there is their expertise in hockey. John is a former NHL Hockey goalie, and was outstanding during his playing career. John’s son currently plays hockey at Bethel College in Minnesota. The kids and the young adults were thrilled to have John in the country. He taught them many skills, and encouraged them in their development. On more than one occasion John shared his testimony in a powerful way, and God moved in hearts. As wonderful and powerful as the trip had been I was not prepared for what took place on the last day. John brought all the leaders together along with Brad and told them he had something to present to them. To my utter amazement, and of all those who were there, John gave them his Stanley Cup Final Jersey. It is the one with his name on it, and the emblem of the Stanley Cup. For those of you who do not know what the Stanley Cup is, it is the trophy given for winning the championship in Hockey. To make it to the Stanley Cup Finals is like going to the Super Bowl in Football. And John giving them his jersey was like someone giving a person his Super Bowl Ring. Every child who loves hockey dreams of wearing this jersey one day, and here was John giving his away to a missionary and a bunch of young hockey players in Bosnia – and all of them Muslim.
To think, that somewhere across the sea in Sarajevo, Bosnia hangs John Vanbiesbrouck’s Stanley Cup Jersey, is rather mind blowing. But why would he do this? He will never see it again; it will never hang on his wall at home. The reason he did it, was that John got a glimpse of eternity. John’s treasures were stored up in heaven, and not down here on earth. John realized that all he has was God’s, that all he accomplished was of God, and that everything he did is to be done to the glory of God. At the beginning of this devotion I mentioned Hebrews 13:16, let me quote it for you; “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” That’s what John did, and that is what each of us should do. Oh, we do not have Stanley Cup Jerseys or Super Bowl Rings, but we do have something – as some of those things may be treasures – and those we can share. Things perhaps we have grown attached to or things that we have worked so hard to obtain. I do not know what that may be, but I do know that I must always hold my hand open, and not keep a tight-fisted hold on things – because that is just what they are, things. But they are things we can lay at Christ’s feet, and sometimes in the hands of others. What John did was a picture of what Jesus did in a much greater way. He gave all He had for us, and that was more astounding than leaving a treasure in a house in Sarajevo. II Corinthians 8:9 says, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” I know John had no intentions of what he did in Bosnia to become known, and I know he would be embarrassed to read this, but such an act of generosity and kindness can be used of God in all our lives. I know that it was the grace of God that did this, but I also know it came through a yielded and willing heart. May yours and mine be such a heart.