Last year, high-profile baseball superstar Josh Hamilton really torqued me. Not for the same reason all the jilted Ranger fans felt torqued, tho. Most (tho not all) Rangers fans talked as if Josh had turn-coated the home team, to sign with the hated North Orange County Angels. My take was that the Rangers clearly didn’t want him anymore (in spite of all the political posturing in the media)…and he knew it. No problem here for me. Going to a team that wanted him made perfect sense.
My problem was with his choice of words to the media, the day he actually signed his new contract. Phrases like, “I just want to be where God wants me to be” and “I just want to provide for my family the best I can” felt cheap and condescending to me.
Apparently, signing for $25mil per year in California looked like the place where God wanted Josh to provide for his family. Why did this have to get all theological? Why did it have to be about provision? Why couldn’t he have just said, “They’re going to pay me like a Shah and I can live in a mini-mansion that overlooks the Pacific Ocean if I want to.” Way more honest and a lot less confusing to a world that struggles to understand God.
Now comes Kanye.
Just recently, Kanye left his lucrative contract with Nike to sign a long-term deal with Adidas (hey…those hip-hop megastars need good kicks for all the moves they bust every night on the road, ya know…). Again, more power to the dude. Just like our sports superstar entertainers, musical arena-fillers are free to make titanic-loads of money, if the sheep are willing to pay. God bless America.
No. Just like with Josh, my problem was with his choice of words to the media. Check this out and see if it sounds familiar:
“I took the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family…I’m gonna be the first hip-hop designer and because of that, I’m gonna be bigger than Wal-Mart.”
Wow. Looks like the Adidas deal includes the same kind of royalties incentive the great Michael Jordan gets with Nike…like $50-100mil per year…just for the privilege of having Kanye’s mug on cardboard shoe boxes and hip ESPN commercials.
So glad he’s now gonna have enough cash to provide for Kim Kardashian and the little hip-hopsters they produce. I was really starting to worry they were going to end up in line down at the Union Rescue Mission. Whew.
Enough of my sarcasm. Don’t miss the point here. Let this modern-day parable be a lesson from God to you, as it has been to me. In his Word, God promises to meet every real need we have. He promises to give us enough, so that we will be free to give to others who don’t. That’s the promise…and that’s the command.
Josh and Kanye are just men. Broken men in a world of twisted and upside down values. Broken men in need of grace. They are men like me.
I would lie if I said there aren’t days I see myself as better than they are…deeper, wiser, more mature. And definitely more humble. Yeah…way more humble. And then I come back to earth and realize I’m really just a spiritual midget in need of the exact same grace my wealthier and higher profile brothers are needing.
Honesty is such a brutal mirror.