The Miami Heat: A Lesson In Humility

Posted: June 23, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in NBA, Sports Devotionals

Photo Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters)

The whole sports world is buzzing over the coronation of the “king”. On Thursday night, the Miami Heat beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. More importantly, it was the first NBA Championship ring for Lebron James. The man who had the infamous “Decision” two years ago now finally got his time in the limelight for the right reasons. He told ESPN that it was about time and he was right.

After nine years of high expectations that were Jordanesque, playoff failures, and comments about telling the media to live our lives, LeBron finally got that title. Two years ago, I was a Lebron James fan. Then, when he announced his decision to join Dwyane Wade in South Beach, I became a person that rooted against him. I was so happy last year when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks showed that you could still win the championship as a team and not just because you have two superstars.

However, in these playoffs, we saw a different Miami Heat team. They went through so much adversity whether it was the series deficits to Indiana and Boston, the injury to Chris Bosh, a Game 1 2nd half collapse against OKC or cramps to James in Game 4, Miami always had an answer. They fed off the tough Finals’ loss from a year ago and realized that we couldn’t just win the championship by showing up. There had to be hard work put in and teamwork that was shown with James and Wade getting guys like Bosh, Shane Battier, and Mario Chalmers involved in the offense.

I always thought after last year, especially with the big party the Big Three threw after the Decision, that this team was too focused on their egos and that greatness was just going to come in a matter of seconds. You can just flashback to the not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7 titles comments by James at that party as an example.

Thursday night, I heard a different LeBron James and one that I could get back to not disliking him again because I think he finally felt humble and realized he needed to win this not for the haters, but for himself and his teammates. Take a look at some quotes I took from the Game 5 postgame news conference.

“It took me to go all the way to the top and then hit rock bottom to realize what I needed to do as a professional athlete and as a person,” he said. “I was just happy I was able to get back to this position. I was happy I was able to do it the right way, and do it for myself and not for anyone else.”

“The best thing that happened to me was losing the Finals, and me playing the way I played,” he revealed, “because basically, I got back to the basics. I knew I was going to have to change as a basketball player and as a person to get what I wanted. It just happened one year later.” (NBA.com)

As Christians, we can all learn a lesson from LeBron James and the Miami Heat. It is all about being humble. We can have good success at our jobs or with our friends and feel good about it, but the danger comes when we think we are the greatest. It becomes a trap of falling in love with wordly things rather than focusing on God above who gives us the gifts to achieve that success and His unfailing love that brings us encouragement to succeed.

The perfect example of that humility is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul talks about Jesus’ loving example in his epistle to the Philippians. He talks about us taking on the interests of others rather than ourselves, but more importantly, imitating the mindset of Jesus. God’s Son was of high esteem in Heaven, but because God loved us so much, He sent His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins so that by faith in who He is and what He did we could be forgiven. Talk about going from the top of the mountain to being mocked on the cross as a criminal. This is what Paul writes:

“but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” (Philippians 2:7-10)

Now LeBron is not Jesus, but looking at “king James” helps to remind me of the true KING! Jesus is the King of Kings and He is great and Holy! Today, I exhort you to trust in the Lord in all things and continue to remain humble. Always put the Lord first in everything that you do because without Him, none of it would be possible. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew: 

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”(Matthew 23:12)

I pray that I, as well as all of you, continue to remember that the Lord gives us our platforms to spread the Gospel, and, even though some might praise us for our efforts, remember that all the praise and the glory does not go to us, it goes to the Lord! We do it ALL FOR HIM!

 

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