Sometimes I’m afraid to be “the best I can be” as a Christian–because I’m afraid that before long it will get to my head. If you serve a lot and do lots for people and you are respected for your work, it’s easy to look back at what you’ve done and to congratulate yourself, and to have satisfaction in yourself and what you do. Symptoms of pride can soon follow. But here’s the difference between LeBron James and Jeremy Lin: LeBron sees himself as a gift to the world. He does really well on the court, enjoys his stats, his glory and the pleasure he gets from all that, and it’s all about him. Jeremy on the other hand does incredible well like LeBron, but sees his experience and abilities as gifts from God–and that’s right. He does his best, is an example to others of superb basketballing, and enjoys it all as a gift.
When it comes to living an exemplary life, it hit me that being an example doesn’t make you a gift to the world; it makes you a receptor of God’s kindness, because your hands, your mind and your voice get to join into something beautiful. God has his mighty men whether I’m one of them or not, trying or not, and he distributes healing and encouragement and changed lives through these people whether I’m involved or not. The ones that distribute God’s blessings to the world are fortunate to be the ones giving; God gives it to them to be salt in the earth rather than killers and thieves and conniving politicians.
So if I try hard and do well, I can’t boast that I’m a gift to the world; I can only give thanks that God lets me experience what it’s like to be a blessing to others–to be someone useful rather than someone useless. I don’t want to be useless to his cause. He invites me to “abide in him,” so that I can “bear much fruit,” which will bring a ton of kudos, props and praise to his father. This kind of thinking frees me to try my best and not be proud in the process.