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LeBron vs. Manute

July 11, 2010

LeBron James has been named the “Messiah” of the NBA and we are all suppose to be a “witness” of King Jame’s reign.  We celebrated his monarchy with constant media coverage and a one hour, prime time special of his free-agency decision.  LeBron has been hailed as one of the most talented basketball players to have ever laced up sneakers.  His goal for his decision-making was made clear:  make LeBron happy.  We can understand this because it is the logos we all tend to live by. 

However, with very little fanfare Manute Bol died.  Bol is Sudanese and has the record as the tallest player to ever be in the NBA.  He also only averaged 2.7 points per game.  His death occurred as a whisper in the media while we all followed LeBron and his decision to “grace” some fine city.  Meanwhile, one news story told us the truth.  The basketball tale of the tape clearly goes to LeBron as does the category of earthly success.  However, Manute Bol was a Christian and not just by the confession of his mouth but by the evidence of his life.  Sudan is a country that has been rocked by AIDS, war, genocide, and poverty.  The orphan crisis is in the millions.  Manute gave everything he had to show the love of Christ .  His two “widows mites” in comparison to LeBron’s endorsement checks are a glorious testimony of the cross.  As Leonard Sweet might say in his book Soul Salsa, Manute “bounced his last check.”  He died penniless with a fortune in his heavenly bank account.  I mentioned this story in my sermon today.  I can”t even begin to tell you how compelling it is to me so I put a link to it below if you would like to check it out. 

Manute was a fool and a glorious one at that.  Beautiful is his death in the sight of the Lord and the church should rejoice in Jesus’ work in his life.  Clearly, Manute Bol stands head and shoulders above the “king LeBron James version” of basketball holy writ, because Jesus has written his sacred story through this giant of a man.  Thanks, Manute.  See you one day soon.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:54 am

    What a story. Makes me sad that this is the first mention I have heard of it. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Robert permalink
    July 12, 2010 6:56 am

    The crossculture series puts in perspective how we act and how we should act. N.T. Wright’s book “After you Believe” makes it clear that coming to Christ is not a one time and done deal. Accepting Christ in our lives is the begining and not the end of our relationship.

  3. Joey permalink
    July 12, 2010 8:40 am

    Thanks Nathan for sharing this story and more so for sharing the link! God bless the work you’re doing.

  4. Mike permalink
    July 12, 2010 10:03 am

    A man was exploring caves by the
    Seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.
    They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

    He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!
    Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.
    Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time.. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

    It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

    We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

    There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

    May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in Souls because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.

    May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

  5. Kyle Heine permalink
    July 12, 2010 5:32 pm

    Kudos to your Minister of Technology and Cultural Relevancy in finding this inspiring article!

  6. Bob permalink
    July 16, 2010 9:07 am

    What a great man, need more athletes like him. Why is this is where I here about it, not on mainstream media. I watch espn regularly and not a word. I like our measure of greatness better, thanks for the info.

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