Balling, Calling

In case you were wondering, I too have been stricken by a case of Linsanity.  I am referring, of course, to New York Knicks wunderkind Jeremy Lin, who has taken the basketball world by storm in his first week as a starter, ringing up 20-point games with regularity after being cut by multiple teams and riding the far end of the bench the rest of his time in professional hoops.  I mean, 38?!?  Against Kobe, in the Garden, on a Friday night, on national TV?!?

I cannot help but live out my long-shattered NBA dreams through him, given that we are both from the Bay Area, went to Ivy League schools, are of Taiwanese descent, and are outspoken Christians.  He even has the same game I once aspired to – fearless drives to the basket, a pass-first mentality – and I swear I rocked his haircut in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. 

Sportswriters are agog probing this bright new story line for new angles.  There’s the Harvard angle, the Asian-American angle, the benchwarmer angle, the “I sleep on my brother’s couch in Manhattan” angle, and, of course, being that we are now firmly in Year 1 of our Hero Tim Tebow, the “I am a practicing born-again Christian” angle. 

As to that last angle, I forget where I read this (probably ESPN), but Lin is quoted on the subject of his faith as wrestling with what it means to be “a basketball player for God.”  Meaning that if God has called him to this profession, it is incumbent upon him to figure out how to live out his faith in that profession.

There is, of course, an important first order of business, which is that we make sure we are in fact where God has called us to be.  Sometimes, we choose on our own what we want our job to be, and then we try to ask God how we can be faithful in that job.  To which God might reply, “I have no instructions for you in that job, because that’s not the job I want you in.”  So first, the right job, and then the job the right way. 

That said, I have no insight as to whether Lin is called to hoop.  Let’s assume he is.  He is right to think about how God can make the most of where he is.  And we ought to do the same, whether we are lawyers or metalworkers or professors or stay-at-home parents.  In this sense, while the younger version of me might innocently aspire to be like Lin, the current version of me does not and should not, nor should I envy others’ station in life: as they have been uniquely stationed in a certain place, and are wrestling through what it means to be faithful in that place, so should I worry about my own faithfulness in the place where I feel God has put me.  (Unless, of course, God is calling me to a new place.  But that’s a story for another time.)

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