Four Pillars of Greatness
Studying Lebron James reveals a path to greatness consistent with what I call the four pillars of greatness. These pillars are not confined to superstars of the NBA; I believe that all of us have greatness within us. The real question is how we harvest them to make ourselves truly great in God’s eyes. So the purpose of this post is to examine the pillars that makes Lebron James great and to challenge us to cultivate the greatness that lies within.
1. God-Given Ability
At 6’8”, 250-lb. Lebron James is an impressive physical specimen and a gifted athlete. He is one of the few players in the world that can play all five positions efficiently. Plus, he usually draws the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best player.
God has also given us an impressive set of skills and abilities. Galatians 5:22-23 outlines the God-given ability that each of us receives in gifts known as “The Fruits of The Spirit” …the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Key Point: Greatness in our lives is realized when we are using our God given abilities to His glory.
2. Hard Work
Lebron James has the reputation of not only being the best player in the world, but the hardest worker in basketball. James full commitment coupled with preparation and focus has enabled him to lead his teams to victory.
Jesus has the reputation of working hard for us; as the son of God, He could take it easy on His royal throne but as He told the disciples during the Last Supper, He is our servant these are His words: “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. 27 Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:25-27
Key Point: Jesus wants our reputation to be one of service, placing the needs of others before our own.
3. A Plan
Lebron James’ plan is to remain in control of his emotions. Think about it. Lebron James is emotionally impacted from every source imaginable — the press, teammates, coaches, family and friends — and undoubtedly has thoughts and feelings which are not always positive. However, he knows he is more than what he thinks or feels and is able to stick to his plan to control his emotions, staying focused on providing his best performance for the team.
Emotional control is a game plan that God wants for our lives. Another James, the brother of Jesus provides us with the emotional control playbook when he says: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human
anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. – James 1: 19-20
Key Point: God can give us the strength and wisdom to think and listen before we speak and act.
4. You will be great – no matter what
Fear of failure can keep us from achieving greatness. Lebron James knows he must free himself from the fear of failure in order to perform at a high level. Although it is easier said than done, great athletes learn how to overcome fear – so they can attempt the game-winning shot, or hit the home run when the game is on the line.
God gives us the confidence to overcome the failures we all experience on our path to greatness. God sees the greatness in all of us and encourages us to be great through His word. God saw greatness in the people of Israel when they could not see it themselves. Through the prophet Isaiah, God renewed the strength and the hope of greatness of a captured people. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint.”
Key Point: God see greatness in us even when we can’t see it in ourselves.
The Bottom Line: Greatness is at hand.
We don’t have be rich and famous like Lebron James to be great. In fact true greatness is shown in the everyday acts of ordinary people using their God-given talents working hard in service to others. The gospel of Jesus Christ tells us that God will provide the way but we must follow His teachings – which are not the teachings of the world – to reveal the greatness that is in all of us.