I have thought of writing this story for a while, and when I saw an article on a Christian NBA basketball star Jeremy Lin, I was inspired to write it.
For those who don’t know, Jeremy Lin, 29, plays for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA. He has been an all-star basket ball player throughout much of his career and is the first NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
He has always floated under the radar. He was undrafted and came out of nowhere during New York Knicks’s 2012 season. The Knicks were having a terrible year and the coach was contemplating cutting Lin who had not seen any significant playing time. But after repeated losses and injuries to players, the coach decided to play Lin who stormed off the bench and many argue single handily turned the Knicks’s 2012 season around.
When Jeremy scored 38 points in a game in February 2012, in an interview with ESPN NBA star Kobe Bryant said:
“Players playing that well don’t usually come out of nowhere. It seems like they come out of nowhere, but if you can go back and take a look, his skill level was probably there from the beginning. It probably just went unnoticed.”
When you are anointed by God, things can happen that surprise people.
Lin has also been very vocal about his faith. And recently, Lin shared how he was struck by the Old Testament stories of how God used people who were sinners and made mistakes.
In an email sent to members of his prayer group, Lin wrote:
“Seriously, God has been really impressing on my heart that He continually uses broken, imperfect people. I often put pressure on myself to be as close to perfect as I can otherwise God can’t use me. But the reality is that God uses sinful, doubtful and proud people all through Scripture.”
There were men such as Abraham who lied claiming his wife was actually his sister and then later because of unbelief tried to fulfill God’s promise of a son through Esau. Jacob who with his mother’s help lied and deceived his dad and stole the first-born blessing from his brother Esau.
And one of the greatest men of God in the Old Testament was arguably also one of the worst. King David not only committed adultery with Bathsheba but after she became pregnant, David ordered a god-father-like hit on her husband so David could marry his wife. Yet despite David’s weaknesses, the Bible describes David as a man after God’s own heart.
But perhaps the classic example of God using people who are far from perfect involved the story of Samson who God continued to anoint despite his sin and weaknesses.
In the story found in the book of Judges, we read how God consecrated Samson, set him apart at birth, to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5).
There are a couple of story lines that come out of Samson’s life. The one most commonly used is the impact of sin and how it can derail a person and squelch God’s anointing. And though this is certainly true, there is also another distinct theme — God is willing to use sinners and imperfect people to carry out His purposes on earth.
Samson was immature, proud, and wanton womanizer who liked to visit prostitutes. He disobeyed his parents, despised God’s calling and anointing on his life. Some describe Samson as a teenage boy who never really grew up.
Yet we are told repeatedly that God’s spirit came upon Samson:
25 And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:25 NASV)
6 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. (Judges 14:6 NASV)
He made mistakes, repeatedly sinned and broke Covenant with God, but time and again repented and God used him.
Here is the point God uses cracked pots. If the Lord only used perfect, sinless people, nothing would ever get done.
Don’t let your imperfections hold you back from what God wants to do in your life. Learn the lessons of Samson of how sin leads to destruction, but also learn that God is still very willing to use you.
Do not despise yourself.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:17 NASV)