10 “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”
Luke 17:10 (NIV)
In 2002, I got up before school to watch the highlights of LeBron James’ high school games on Sportscenter. Sixteen years later, after the kids went to bed, I watched him play in the NBA finals. I am a LeBron fan.
LeBron makes me think about the weather term "perfect storm," which is a particularity violent storm arising from a rare combination of meteorological factors.
LeBron is basketball’s version of a perfect storm. He is a particularly talented player arising from a rare combination of factors.
He is intelligent, hardworking, mentally tough, and he has a rare combination of size, strength and speed. But he is more than a talented basketball player. He is concerned with the wellbeing of others and uses his platform and money to give back and speak out.
Even though LeBron is an impressive person and exceptional basketball player, he is only an unworthy servant doing his duty.
Do not look at me. I did not say that. Jesus did.
When we look at stars like LeBron, it is difficult to view them as recipients of God’s gifts, merely doing what they should, instead of as self-made individuals doing extraordinary things. But here are a few things to remember when considering our idols:
1) LeBron could just as easily be 4’8” instead of 6’8”. He had nothing to do with his height or genetics. Lebron did not stitch his body together -- he could have been born with no legs. Although LeBron works hard to improve his game, he fell heir to all the raw materials he has to work with.
2) Even LeBron’s work ethic and ability to refine the gifts God gave Him are God-given. He could just as easily had a lazy temperament.
3) Also, Lebron’s moral and ethical sensibilities are from God, so he can’t even boast in the good he does. Neither can we.
4) LeBron was born in a time where you can make a living and become famous by putting a ball through a cylinder. That would not get you anywhere throughout the vast majority of history. He has God to thank for the timing of his birth.
5) LeBron’s platform, fame and wealth are due to factors he did not choose, but factors God gave.
Athlete, all the things that are true for LeBron are true for you too. You have God to thank for your everything -- even your faith in God.
That means boasting is irrational.
That means when we do good, we are merely being reasonable stewards, not doing something extraordinary.
When we think of ourselves as stewards managing the talents God gave us, instead of as self-made individuals, we move from pride to humility.
Action: If you can walk or play a sport, thank God your motor neurons receive signals from your brain and spinal cord so your body can move how you tell it.