I don’t know everything that went on behind the scenes of the LeBron James Decision Day Special last month. I’m not sure of all the things that led up to this (forgive me if you’re a fan) "circus". I’d bet a lot of money that a lot of money was made by someone. And I don’t know, maybe LeBron, or rather LBJ as he’s popularly called, is donating whatever he made on the event to the neediest of the needy. Or maybe he agreed to this -forgive me again – "fiasco" only after calling sponsors to give what they made for some – what? – greater purpose (For God’s sake, anything!). I guess, ultimately, I don’t know. But at least on the surface of things and judging by the Twitter commentary (which is clearly the bastion of truthful commentary), it sure appears to be incredibly Me-First.
And maybe that shouldn’t be surprising. I also don’t know what ultimate commitments LBJ has made in his life that might claim him in some way to be different.
I don’t know (actually in this case, I think I do know), something real specific that Jesus said hit me hard during that week of the LBJ Decision Day Special. And I've been thinking about it for a while since. The question Jesus asks that hit me hard was this: Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Mt 6:25). Hmmm.
It’s a question that Jesus asked in the Sermon on the Mount. He asks the question right after teaching about some important things: Giving to the needy, Prayer and Fasting and Storing the right treasure in the right place. It’s right after that, as if Jesus knows what we are thinking after hearing this demanding word, that Jesus gets to the topic of Fear, spoken in the tattered tones of worry, anxiety and stress. Jesus’ word about Fear is a summary point after all the demanding living he has just called his followers to adopt, living that if we really, really did adopt as the shape of our existence ought to scare the living daylights out of us!
In this way, Jesus pits Faith over against Fear (not Doubt, by the way). And part of what we realize is that Faith releases the floodgates of opportunity whereas fear shuts it all down. I can’t help but think the LBJ missed the opportunity with his Decision Day Special, but again, I don’t know everything.
One important thing got stirred up in me as I reflected on Jesus’ question, Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? It’s important for us to see LBJ’s special like we’re looking into a mirror and seeing ourselves, albeit perhaps (and I mean perhaps) to a lesser degree. As I did that, what I see reflected back to me when I look into the LBJ mirror is a person named Michael Dunn who is Me-First in so many areas of my life. I mean, more often than not, I cannot even get it right with my family. And my guess is that what’s true of me is true of every one of us who gathers at a table in Faith that runs so completely counter to Me-First, a table where the words of Jesus reverberate through the centuries, This is my body…given…for you…whenever…remember what I have done.
Jesus poses a question for us to ponder, I guess, but probably more importantly, for us to answer. LBJ notwithstanding.