The Bible says, “Win on the road.”

Sure, you’ve heard coaches and N.B.A. analysts preach this, and it’s hardly ever been more true than in the 2008 N.B.A. Playoffs. Winning on the road is a blessing.

But did you know it’s a mandate from Holy Scripture?

Seriously. In so many words.

As evidence, I offer Genesis 12:1-3, also known as The Call of Abram:

1 Now the Lord said to Abram:
Go from your country,
and your town,
and your father’s house
to the land that I will show you.

2 And I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you and make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.

3 I will bless those who bless you,
and him who dishonors you I will curse,
and in you all the peoples of the earth shall be blessed.

God shows Abraham the stars ...“God shows Abram the stars in the sky.”
(18th century engraving by
German painter von Carolsfeld.)

Meditate on that for a moment or two, especially if you’re a basketball fan.

(By the way, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions alike regard Abram a.k.a. Abraham as the forefather of their peoples, and these religions are often called Abrahamic.)

Do you see that in order to be a blessing, Abram first had to leave home?

He had to leave his father’s house, didn’t he? That’s my man’s home court.

But did you notice the order of things?

Isn’t it backwards?

Don’t you have to leave your father’s house first, then your town, then your country? Don’t you leave your locker room first, then your arena, then your city, then your state?

Why is it backwards? Was there a hidden meaning in this Biblical reversal?

Well, it’s not so hidden, but … yes.

Road stars ...Road stars ...Road stars ...Road stars ...Fine, but show me the stars on the road.

First, just to explain, I hardly ever attend church, but I’m spiritual, and I’ve become much more interested in the Bible (and all Holy Scriptures) since I began to study and understand the science of positive thinking, the inner powers we have, and how our minds can manifest reality.

I find that they’re all consistent, as do most people who bother to take an open look.

There’s no doubt about the popularity of topics and books like The Law Of Attraction, Chicken Soup For The Soul, The Secret, and many others. And I’ve written here and spoken often that my personal favorite of these is Think And Grow Rich.

Part of the reason for the success of this (not-so-new) “New Age” self-improvement genre is that many of us have lost confidence in the traditional institutions we used to rely on for support, information, and empowerment: churches, corporations, governments, education systems, the media.

Aren’t all of us always seeking better ways to examine ourselves, to unravel our past conditioning, to re-program what doesn’t work, to find new inspiration, to self-motivate, and to make our thoughts, feelings, and actions lead to better results in life?

Aren’t the Pistons, Celtics, Lakers, and Spurs doing that?

Aren’t you?

I know I am. It’s not always easy, is it?

It’s hard to unlearn some of the things we once thought were so true, that we picked up way back when, that we were forced to digest, that were passed down to us, but that don’t serve us anymore. It’s hard to face ourselves, and to leave behind some of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to justify what or where we are … or aren’t.

It’s hard to leave our father’s house.

Isn’t it the hardest thing of all to do — letting go of outdated allegiances and beliefs and fears we cling to even when they no longer work? Don’t we often stay in our father’s house long after we’ve left our countries and our towns behind?

Don’t N.B.A. teams lose on the road because they forget they aren’t at home?

Doesn’t this give “NOT IN OUR HOUSE!” a new meaning?

Back to Abram.

Which is to say, back to ourselves.

Is Abram told where to go? No, he’s just told to leave his country, his town, and his father’s house. He’s only promised that if he leaves, he’ll be a blessing. It takes faith to leave our father’s house (literally and symbolically) without knowing where we’re going, doesn’t it?

So then, isn’t it really about being a blessing? Isn’t it about being, along the way, rather than where we’re going?

In basketball, and in life, isn’t it about playing how you play no matter where you’re at? Isn’t it about fundamentals and effort and what’s inside you? Isn’t it about taking what works with you, and leaving behind what doesn’t?

Isn’t this the key to winning on the road?

Isn’t this the key to being a blessing?

Isn’t being our destiny?

Isn’t that leaving everything on the court?

Isn’t that how we make history now?

(Many thanks to Joel Roberts, who inspired this post.)

(Basketball photos courtesy of Getty Images.)