Earlier this month, I traveled to Denver, CO with the other teachers from my school to attend an AVID conference. In case you don’t know, AVID stands for “Achievement Via Individual Determination.” It is a research-based program to teach students skills to be successful in college. Lots of good stuff. I was quite excited to go and learn new skills myself to teach to my students.
I work at a very low-income, very small school. There is no way we could ever afford to send even one teacher to this conference, let alone the whole staff (eight…I told you we were small.) Enter Nike. We have a Nike grant to implement the program, including sending us to the conference. Thank you Nike.
But Nike didn’t stop with paying the entire expense (plane fare, hotel, meals, conference cost). They did more. When we arrived at our first session, all of our chairs had brand new Nike backpacks hanging from them. Really nice backpacks.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Also at my spot at the table was a wristband. This was a very important wristband. It was my ticket to get on a chartered bus and transported to Coors Field for a party. When we walked into the building, we were welcomed by a drum line and the smoke machine to walk through. A camera was there to flash our images on the jumbotron. I felt like a hero. Once inside, there were people walking around with the most amazing hors d oeuvres: mini corndogs, little cups of Cerveche, and mini soft pretzels. All of the drink carts were open, as was the bar on the top level. And then there was a very long buffet of food. The batting and pitching cages were open. We were truly treated like VIPs. It was wonderful.
The next day I used my new backpack to carry my materials. I noticed a few of the teachers from other states eyeing them and wondering why so many of us had the same backpacks. Occasionally I would be asked if the rumor that there was a party just for the teachers from Oregon was true. I felt a little bit guilty. I had done nothing to deserve such fabulous treatment. The only thing I had was that I was a teacher from Oregon at a school that wanted to help its students.
And isn’t that just like God? I am a sinner with nothing to offer. I’m just living here on Earth wanting something better. And God gives me something much better than a backpack and a party. He gives me his own son. He takes my place so that I can have eternity with Him. And all because He loves me.
Nike really isn’t like God. God is so, so much better.