Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Be Like Mike

God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have.

-- Romans 12:6

Did you ever want to Be Like Mike ? If you grew up in the 1980s or ‘90s, chances are you did.

The “Mike” in question is of course Michael Jordan, one of the best (many say the greatest) basketball players of all time. His astonishing NBA career includes accolades as an NBA Rookie of the Year, a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, a six-time NBA Champion and a 14-time NBA All-Star. When he retired after the 2002-03 season, the University of North Carolina graduate held the NBA's highest scoring average of 30.1 points per game.

Michael Jordan’s remarkable athleticism and talent combined to render an incredible Hall of Fame career that basketball fans will no doubt remember for decades. And his lead-by-example work ethic helped bring the NBA Championship to Chicago six times. So it’s no surprise that the 6’6” superstar was a top NBA draft choice. After all, the scouts had good reason to know that Jordan could soon revolutionize the game.

That makes sense in basketball. But what’s much more surprising is that God tends to pick His team – the Christ-followers around the world known as The Church – quite differently. His ways aren’t mankind’s ways. And He often chooses the least likely people to serve Him and accomplish the remarkable things that conventional wisdom deems impossible.

The Bible is full of familiar examples. Moses was a stutterer who once murdered an Egyptian taskmaster. King David – one of the most powerful rulers on Earth – was once an obscure shepherd boy. The Apostle Peter actually denied knowing Jesus three times in public. And Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles who authored much of the New Testament – once dedicated himself to catching, arresting and killing Jesus’ followers before the new faith could spread across the Roman Empire. Their common denominator? All four of these real-life heroes were weak: either physically or spiritually. The unlikely is the way God likes it.

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength,” writes the Apostle Paul. “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
The point here is that you don’t have to slam-dunk a basketball or score 30 points a game to make a big difference on the God Squad. In fact, every Christ-follower – strong or weak – is called to be Jesus’ hands and feet on earth while we wait for His return or that day when He calls us back home. Until then, God wants us to help prepare His Kingdom by making the most of the different gifts and talents He’s given each follower. So rather than striving to Be Like Mike, it’s much more important that we follow Christ.

“In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served,” Jesus explains in Mark 10:45. “He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people."

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