Jim Valvano, nicknamed Jimmy V, coached the men’s basketball team at North Carolina State University from 1980-1990. In 1983, against all odds, NC State won the national title against the heavily favored Houston Cougars. The scene at the conclusion of that game is one of the most memorable moments in sports history. Jimmy V, overjoyed with the win, simply couldn’t contain himself, running up and down in the gym, desperately trying to find someone to wrap his arms around! Jimmy V experienced one of the greatest highs ever in sports, but only a few years later in 1993, lost a battle with cancer, dying at the young age of 47. Just two months prior to his death, he gave one of the most inspirational speeches ever recorded. In that short speech at the ESPY awards, the former coach told the following to the audience: “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.”
There are valuable lessons for us as Christians in that memorable speech. The old saying that “laughter is good medicine” comes from Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” No doubt, laughter and joy go hand in hand, and we as Christians should express both. God loves us, cares for us, and has provided a home for us in Heaven. On top of that, He prospers us, protects us, and provides for us. That should make us all joyful! Laughter and joy are infectious, find a way to express both everyday! It will make your day better as well as those you interact with. “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them” (Psalm 126:2).
Thinking can also be expressed as meditation. Psalm 1:2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Spending time reading God’s Word first thing in the morning, thinking about what you read (meditation), is a great way to ensure a joyous day. Allowing God to speak to you, and in turn going to Him in prayer, ensures we are in step with Him, and is a great start to any day!
Tears are one of the greatest emotions God gave to mankind. Tears are not a sign of weakness, it shows you have passion and that you care. There will certainly be tears of sorrow in the coming year for many of us as the result of difficult circumstances. But we should also shed tears over our sin, that’s a good kind of sorrow that leads to repentance. Additionally, having a heart for those who don’t know our Savior should move us to weep, and those tears should move us to action, to tell others about Him!
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalms 126:5-6 ).
Jimmy V was right, laughing, thinking, and crying make for a full day! Perhaps those thoughts would make for a great New Years resolution for 2020!