The Next King James
by Joseph Franks
In the early seventeenth century, when someone said “King James,” attention would immediately go to the monarch sitting upon England’s throne.
In the twentieth century, when someone said “King James,” attention would most likely turn to a particular version of the English Bible that was highly valued by most and deemed divinely inspired by some.
Now, in the twenty-first century, when someone says “King James,” thoughts fly to a certain basketball player who flies through the air. I am speaking of the one who won two NBA championships in Miami and now seeks to win one in Cleveland. In addition to this he has receive four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, two Finals MVP Awards, and he has added two Olympic gold medals to his collection. Yes, Lebron James has been the king of basketball for some time. His face is one of the most recognizable throughout the land and perhaps even the planet.
However, an interesting claim was recently made by the Houston Rockets. Following their victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (105 to 103) on Sunday, May 1, 2015, someone on the Rocket’s media staff put forth Tweet, “Long live the new king ….” In this declaration, homage was being made to James Harding. According to the biased view of this unrealistic and Tweeter, James Harding was now the boss of Lebron James. There was a new king in town.
For anyone who follows the NBA, James Harding is an incredible player; he is an NBA All-star and an Olympian who can take over a game. However, it is unlikely that any NBA franchise would take Mr. Harding over Mr. James. Yes, in one game, James Harding may have bested Lebron James, but the season is not over and neither are their legacies. Harding has a long way to go before the populace will give him the crown of the NBA. He might be “Prince James,” but there is still only one “King James.”
That being said, it is only a matter of time before Lebron James goes the way of King James I and the King James Version. Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isaiah Thomas, and Michael Jordan have all come and gone. Their days of dominating the basketball court and American culture are through. And it is only a matter of time; despite the brilliant legacy of Lebron James, his days are numbered, and someday there will be the next King James.
So how ought King James Seeing handle this coming reality? He should handle his looming deterioration and dethroning in the same manner as all other men and women.
Seeing our looming deterioration and dethronement, let us be humble and thankful for the current blessings of the Lord. It is the Lord who gifts Lebron with speed, power, dexterity, health, size, opportunity, and success. It is the Lord gives us our educations, relationships, opportunities, wealth, health, enjoyment, wisdom, technology, toys, sanity, and freedom. In this world, not all get the same blessings. And like there are many who wish they could be “Like Mike” or like Lebron James, there are many who wish they could walk in our shoes as well. Let us not have entitlement mentalities and be arrogant. None of us deserve the blessings we have received, and none of us are self-made men and women. Let us be humble and thankful for the kind providences of the Lord.
Seeing our looming deterioration and dethronement, let us be good stewards of our gifts. Gifts are given to individuals that they might be used for God’s glory and man’s good. Lebron James ought to be about the business of playing hard, winning games, making money, giving it away, serving the poor, leading the next generation, building Christ’s church, and giving God all the glory. Likewise, whatever gifts we have been given from the Lord, they ought to be spent in his service. Let us invest well all the gifts given us by our Creator and Savior.
Seeing our looming deterioration and dethronement, let us be wise and not surprised at our diminishment. Beauty, popularity, potency, virility, keenness, relationships, health, and personal freedom come and go. Millionaires lose their assets one way or another. Despite their best efforts, beauty queens discover flab and wrinkles. Former great athletes find themselves mocked in the local gym. Mental sharpness diminishes in most, and relationships are bound to end one way or another. Most, if not all of God’s gracious gifts are going to be taken from us in this life, so let us not be surprised when we are not the exception. Therefore, since our deterioration and dethronement is inevitable, let us wisely count our days and realize our trajectory. Then let us grow older, feebler, and more needy with grace and dignity. It is the Lord who blesses and gives. It is the Lord who curses and takes away. It is the Christian, who in both seasons of life, is found with the attitude that proclaims, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Finally, seeing our looming deterioration and dethronement, let us be thankful for the eternal kingship awaiting those who worship Jesus Christ. He is the King of kings, and he has promised a royal inheritance to all who bow the knee, and unlike realms today, his kingdom benefits are forever and ever and ever.
So let us focus not on the glory of yesterday and walk about in sorrow over greatness lost. Too much collateral is spent looking back at yesteryear and longing for the past.
Let us not focus on the glory of today and walk about in arrogance. Too many people consider themselves more highly than they ought. Instead of being humble worshipers and stewards, they puff out their chest, point to themselves, receive worship from their peers, and expect such royal treatment for all their days.
Let us not focus on the glory of tomorrow and walk about in covetousness. Those who have tasted greatness, and those who have yet to enjoy such privileges, they have a tendency to be miserable today because they are not the king they wish to be. They look about at others and with envy and jealousy remain discontented with their lot in life.
No, instead, let us focus on the glory of eternity and long for that day when we will reign as kings under the King of kings. Friends, in this life deterioration and dethronement is inevitable; it is sure. For those found reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, a better coronation and throne is on the horizon.