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NBA Player Christian Corollary
by Kristoffer Riley
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NBA Player/Christian Corollary

Sometimes I look at thing a little differently than others. Oftentimes I allow this fact to quell my desire to share these views. I remember a prophecy though. And I remember the Word of the Lord as spoken many times through my Pastors. I remember a man of God who ahs now gone to be with the Lord as he spoke Prophetically to me saying: “There are no apologies for what I’ve done in you saith God.” I recollect on how my Spiritual Father and Mother have admonished us countless times to not be afraid to speak what the Lord is saying to us.

With this in mind, I bring you the NBA/Christian Corollary.

I see numerous parallels in the way NBA players often carry themselves and the way we as Christians behave. Please read.

The Hungry Rookie & The New Christian

A young rookie is drafted by an NBA franchise comes into the league unheralded. No fanfare. No McDonald’s High School All-America game for him. He wasn’t even the Mr. Basketball of his state. Yet, he’s hungry. He hustles during training camp and wills his way onto the team; laying it all on the line every second he’s on the court. He came into the league with nothing and as far as he’s concerned, he is blessed just to be able to play the game and get paid doing it. He has the utmost respect for his coaches and veteran teammates. He’s just happy to be here.

Compare this guy to a new believer in Christ. He has no expectation of being a leader or of ever being used in ministry. He comes with no credentials, no titles of any sort. He wasn’t even raised in church. Yet, he’s hungry. He has but one desire: To serve God. He cleans the bathroom and the parking lot with no desire to be noticed. He worships with reckless abandon, not caring at all that is though of him. He wants to please God. He respects the Pastors and always does what is asked of him by those in authority. He embodies the scripture: “It is better to be a doorkeeper in the house of God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” He is happy to be saved and wants the world to know.

Four Years Later

There is another player. He has been playing professionally for four years now. He used to be hungry. He would hustle after every rebound and every loose ball, taking charges from players that outweighed him. Then, he got a contract and his hunger disappeared. Where he once passed to an open teammate, he now looks for his own shot. Where he once responded to the coach with a “Yes, sir”, he now shrugs off instruction and regards only his own desires. What used to be a sense of humility is now a sense of entitlement. In his mind, he deserves playing time. He deserves to have the ball in his hands. He deserves to make the All Star team and to bench him would be an insult to his manhood.

There is another Christian. He has been saved and working in the ministry for a few years now. He too was once hungry. He loved the seemingly menial tasks that no one noticed. He reveled in obscurity, not want to be seen, just to serve. Then, he received his license as a minister. The hunger gave way to stagnation and complacency. The energy eroded and slothfulness took its place. Once upon a time, he would do anything that anyone asked him to do for God, for the Pastors, and for the ministry. Now, he seeks his own. Esteeming others more highly than himself? Not hardly. He’s a minister, don’t call him Brother. What used to be submission to God and the authorities placed over him has turned into a rebellious mindset that says he is now entitled to accolades. Constructive criticism? Don’t even try it. He is a leader; or so he thinks. He deserve to preach and be before the body and to not give him these things is an insult to his manhood.

Yet Another…

There is yet another player. He was once the spoiled fourth year player with a max contract. After his contract, he stopped training like he should and in the opening game of his fifth year, he blew out his knee. He is distraught and rushes rehab. He is too insecure to be out of the public eye for long and is back by the latter part of the season. Problem is, he is not healed. He succumbs to a second injury before the playoffs begin. He may not play again. If he does, he will not be the same. This time, he takes rehab as he should. He takes it slow. He dare not rush this time around. As he rehabs, something begins to take place on the inside of him. Gradually, he changes. It is not his playing style that is altered though, it is his character. Without his ability to perform on the court, he is relegated to a bystander, not the innocent type. He is forced to watch others that are still what he once was: hungry and humble. It dawns on him that he misses these two ingredients in his life, not just in his game. He endures the process. He rehabs, not just his knee, but who he truly is. He rehabs his image. Not the image the public sees, for their view is distorted anyway. He rehabs who he sees himself as. He rehabs harder than ever. As he trains, he notices something in him that has been lost for so long. He feels hungry again. He isn’t hungry for glory or personal success though. He notices something else whose presence he misses: humility. Yes, he is hungry and humble once more. He rehabs harder still. At this point, the NBA community hardly notices. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t have to be a star or even a starter. He just wants to be part of a team again. Whether he warms the bench or heats up the scoreboard matters not. He doesn’t have to be the missing piece. He just wants to fit in where he can, for the betterment of the team.

Yes, there is also another Christian. He was once the selfish leader armed with a license. Upon receiving his license, he stopped studying his Word. His prayer life slowly decreased. He went from marching as a soldier to no longer even crawling. He still holds a position, but there is no action to his leadership. His fruits (or lack of) began to show and he wonders how he has fallen so short in such a short time. He is too proud, too insecure to seek counseling, so he fronts. He cannot bear the thought of being out of the public eye. He doesn’t rehab his spirit as he should. He goes by feeling. He feels good one day after reading a few verses and praying for a few minutes, but the change is shallow; nothing deep, nothing true. He changes only temporarily and only because he is afraid that he will have to sit down if he continues to digress. The cycle continues. It is a vicious one, one that he can stop only by truly falling on the Rock. Pushes the envelope and masquerades still. His self esteem is at an all time low. He know where he is and is ashamed of it. He wonders if ministry is still in him. He wonders if it ever existed there. He’s been he before, but never for a prolonged period of time. Never for this long. He watches. He sees new believers come into the body and he sees something familiar. What is it? Where have I seen that before? He remembers now. He sees himself as he was a few years before. Those traits that seem familiar are ones that used to define him: Hunger and humility. He remembers how he used to be. He thinks back on we was selfless and not selfish. He sees the reality of his present state. He is not pleased. He studies more. He prays in earnest. He prays without ceasing. He encourages the brethren. He studies deeper. He intercedes and travails; things he used to do. He does them now from a pure heart though. He doesn’t do it because he wants to regain status with man. He wants to stay in place with God. He doesn’t have to be before the people. He simply wants to be broken for the people. It doesn’t matter if he is at the forefront, behind the scenes, or never seen. He knows that no part of this body, this team is more relevant or need than another. He just wants to fit in where the Lord would have him to. He just wants to be whatever part of the many membered body he needs to be.

Both lost their life that they might gain a better one.

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