That's not a caveman

In the early 70’s when red-headed Bill Walton stepped on the UCLA campus, he looked like Carrot Top just left Woodstock. But when you play basketball for legendary coach John Wooden, he made sure you hit Supercuts before you hit the court.

When Bill Walton showed up for practice, he decided to keep the red mane and beard. Coach calmly said, “Bill, you know our policy about long hair and beards.”

“Yes coach, but I’m a man who lives by my principles and I don’t think I should be forced to cut my hair.”

Coach responded, “Bill, I appreciate a man who stands by his convictions…we’re going to miss you this year.”

Needless to say, Bill found some shears and went on to cut down two NCAA championship nets along with a few records in his time at UCLA.

I’m sure when Coach confronted him, he thought, “What does long hair have to do with the way I play basketball?” For the coach, you play on his terms or transfer.

Most people long to know God, but they only want Him on their terms and when it’s convenient. In his unmatched book, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer says, “To most people God is an inference, not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence with they consider adequate, but He remains personally unknown to the individual. ‘He must be,’ they say, ‘therefore we believe He is.’”

I want to experience God, not merely believe He exists. But I’ve found He doesn’t seem to be available during the commercials. He’s not avoiding me; I’m just not looking for Him.

Many of us assume God is playing hide and seek with us. But this is the same God who shouts in the Psalms, “O taste and see.” And in Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus leaves us a treasure map pointing the way to his location. Unfortunately most of us check out the map and decide to stay on shore. We want God, but it needs to be on our terms.

When we give anonymously, He’s present. When we go pray in the closet, He’s right by the broom. When we have a “lunch appointment” in our closed office, He’s across the table.

If you’ve ever heard Bill Walton tell that story, you know the conversation changed his perspective and changed his life. To my knowledge, I don’t think the California hippie ever decided to follow Christ, but he grew up that day. More than that, he developed a life-long relationship with Coach (who does know Christ). He says, “Not a week went by in my professional career where I did not hear from Coach Wooden.”

I wonder if the end of our career we could say the same thing.