Friday, February 24, 2012

Observing Lent with ‘Lin-tentionality’

Jeremy Lin with the New York Knicks

This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian observation of Lent.

So what’s Lent got to do with rising basketball star Jeremy Lin?

As Lin has become more well-known in recent weeks, his Christian faith has also become the topic of articles and conversations around the office and around the world.

He may be more soft-spoken than Tim Tebow, but he’s no less firm in giving glory to God and seeing his talent as God-given. He has said that someday he may pursue becoming a pastor; for now, he is involved in programs for the less fortunate, and he volunteers time to underprivileged children.

Rising stars like Lin don’t happen over night. He’s had a long bumpy road to arrive at his current place of prominence on the Knicks’ squad. When he graduated from high school, no big college team would recruit him, including his own neighborhood school, Stanford, so he went to Harvard.
He didn’t get picked in the NBA draft out of college.
He’s done his time on the  NBA D-league (Development League). 
He’s been on the bench. 
A lot.
But he sees all of this as part of God’s plan to develop his character, to help him keep his priorities right.

Lin’s strong Christian faith did not happened overnight, either. He was raised by Christian parents who made sure he was in church every Sunday (no matter how late the basketball games got over on Saturday night!). He led Bible studies for the Asian American Christian Fellowship at Harvard. Lin sees everything through the perspective of his Christian faith and God’s involvement in his life.

And now, when the cameras are on him, when the pressure is on, Lin doesn’t shrink back from speaking honestly about his faith. Because he’s done the necessary preparation through discipline…just like in the sport of basketball.

Lent give us all the chance to make a fresh start. Fasting during Lent and practicing some spiritual disciplines will help you take your faith to the next level. Then, when you suddenly find yourself in the limelight, or when the pressure of temptation is on, you’ll be ready to faithfully stand for what you believe in.

You may not ever think you have as large or impressive a platform as a Jeremy Lin, or a Tim Tebow, but your witness matters to those closest to you. They’re watching.
Will you be ready?
Will you be faithful?
Only if you’ve put in the time and done the hard work necessary to grow.

Lent is the perfect time to become more intentional – or is that ‘Lin’-tentional? – about your faith!

Stay connected,
Pastor Mike