LeBron James is on his way to Miami. The basketball superstar who’s had teams recruiting him for the past two weeks has decided to leave his Ohio roots and head for South Beach.
King James, as he’s called, is arguably the best basketball player in the NBA. After spending his first seven seasons in his home state of Ohio, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he became a free agent this offseason. He could now chose the team he wanted to play for and the city where he desired to live. Many NBA suitors lined up to offer King James their $100+ million dollar deal. Teams from New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami all made their pitch. As did the incumbent, the hometown Cavaliers.
And when the over-hyped decision came, LeBron turned his back on the team, the city, and the state that loved him, supported him, and dedicated so much to keeping their homegrown superstar in the Midwest.
The best player in the NBA put the Cavs on his back and carried them to the NBA Finals in 2007, but his team was overmatched and lost to the San Antonio Spurs. The game’s best player has not yet led a team to an NBA championship—that’s the reason he chose Miami. He believes that by signing with two other superstars, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, his path to an NBA title just got much easier.
That’s why his decision is disappointing.
James is probably right. He’ll likely win at least one title in South Florida. But the easiest way? Really? Is that what sports, or life, is about? Taking the easiest path?
What about loyalty? What about working and investing and pouring your life into something to reach your ultimate goal? Doesn’t that type of soul-level investment bring greater fulfillment in the end?
As I learned of James decision, I couldn’t help but think of life in Christian community. When times aren’t perfect, it’s easy to think of running. When things get tough with the people you do life with, it’s tempting to want to find another group. When your small group faces challenges, it’s hard not to think of looking for a group that’s not quite so messy.
The problem is we’re all a mess! We all have issues. Doing life with other fallen human beings isn’t always easy. We shouldn’t expect it to be.
Instead, what we should expect from each other is loyalty. We should strive for commitment. We should make every effort to work through the challenges and issues and messy stuff of life in Christian community. Then, when spiritual victory comes for the people in your community, the reward is that much more meaningful!
Living out your Christian faith in a community that God has sovereignly placed you in is not about “easy”. Instead, it’s about loyalty and learning what God can, and will, do in your eclectic group of messy people.