Cleveland artist Sandy Buffie is the creator of “LintBron,” an eight-pound bust of basketball superstar LeBron James. Why the name? She used thirty gallons of lint, three gallons of glue, and various recycled materials to create the sculpture. It sits outside her design studio.
She encouraged Cavaliers fans to come by and rub LintBron’s head for good luck before Game 4 of this year’s NBA Finals, which the Cavaliers won. She made a similar sculpture last year, which she credits with helping LeBron’s team win the NBA title. LintBron was not enough last night, however, as the Golden State Warriors defeated Cleveland to become NBA champions.
Buffie’s effort was notable for its sacrifice. It took her five weeks to make LintBron. Of course, it took the subject of her sculpture nearly his entire life to become the player that he is.
James was raised by a single mother who realized her son needed a more stable family environment and allowed him to move in with a local youth football coach. The coach introduced LeBron to basketball when he was nine years old. He has been passionately committed to the game ever since, winning state titles in high school and moving directly into the NBA as the first overall pick of the 2003 draft.
ESPN recently ranked him the third-greatest player of all time, behind Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. James led all players with forty-one points last night, but the Warriors were clearly the better team.
Why am I writing today’s article about a man whose team lost the NBA Finals? Because wins and losses are not enough to define success. John Wooden, the winningest coach in college basketball history, defined success as “peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” By his definition, LeBron James succeeded last night.
God wants us to measure ourselves by the factors we can control rather than those we cannot. Our materialistic culture values the tangibles—performance, possessions, and popularity. Our Lord values the intangibles—our character and commitment to our calling. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
As we work, God works. When we give God our best, he gives us his best. The more we surrender ourselves to him, the more we position ourselves to be used by him.
On the way to his martyrdom in Rome, St. Ignatius wrote to Christians in that pagan city. His purpose was to assure them that he was ready and willing to die for his Master. Here was his graphic testimony: “Let fire and the cross; let the crowds of wild beasts; let tearings, breakings, and dislocations of bones; let cutting off of my members; let shatterings of the whole body; and let all the dreadful torments of the devil come upon me: only let me attain to Jesus Christ.”
His wish was fulfilled—Ignatius was fed to beasts in the Coliseum and died. The Romans would have considered him anything but a success. However, their Empire is long dead while Ignatius lives in heaven and his example challenges and inspires us twenty centuries later.
Charles Spurgeon believed that “there are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.” Will your legacy be made of lint or wood?