Protected by Angels

Like many others, I am a huge fan of NBA Golden State Warrior guard Steph Curry, arguably the biggest superstar in all of sports right now. Curry was unanimously voted league MVP (which has never happened in the history of the NBA), and is recognized by almost everyone as the greatest shooter of all time. He and the Warriors are currently battling the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Championship Series.

About this same time last year, I wrote a post about how Steph Curry uses his huge stage to share with others how important his faith is in both his personal and professional life, and I challenged you to think about whether you are using your stage to do the same.

I hadn’t planned to write another post about Steph Curry this year – at least not until I read something he said after spraining his MCL during the first round of the playoffs.  His response when asked about his injury was printed and reported in virtually every news outlet:

He felt “blessed”, he “had some angels protecting” him, he is “joyful”.

You don’t have to watch Steph Curry for long to realize that no one has more fun than Steph Curry.  No one is more “chill” than Steph Curry.  No one is more passionate about what he does than Steph Curry.  Steph Curry lives vibrantly in a very secular world, yet he talks openly about his faith.

If a sports icon like Steph Curry does not hesitate to share how God is part of his everyday life with the tens of thousands of people who hear or read what he says, why do we sometimes hesitate, even with people in our family and close circle of friends?

Steph Curry is not advocating religious doctrine or morality.  And he is not challenging people or trying to convince them of something.  He is simply sharing personal examples of how his faith plays a role in his everyday life.  

Here is why following Steph Curry’s example is so important:

The everyday places where we converge -- at work, at school, at family gatherings -- are less and less helpful in terms of feeding our faith. We are being told in the name of political correctness that our faith should be private and personal. That means people have to either carry their faith by themselves, or not carry it at all.

It shouldn’t be that way.  Each of us can be a model, albeit an imperfect model, of how to be people of faith in a secular world.

If we do this, guess what will happen? We will become more aware of God in our everyday lives. And at the same time, we will create a groundswell of people who also bring God into their everyday lives. 

What Are You Doing on Your Stage?

Steph Curry with his signature practice of pointing his index finger upward as both an outward and internal reminder that God gets all the glory for his success.

Steph Curry with his signature practice of pointing his index finger upward as both an outward and internal reminder that God gets all the glory for his success.

As I write this post, the 2015 NBA conference championships are underway.  And even if you aren’t an NBA fan, there is a player who you cannot help but admire once you begin to watch and listen to him.  His name is Steph Curry, he plays for the Golden State Warriors, he is the 2015 NBA MVP, and according to LeBron James, he is, “One of the best shooters the NBA will ever see.”

The basketball talents of this 27-year-old husband and father are not all that fellow NBA players are touting.  According to teammate Harrison Barnes, “He’s probably one of the most humble superstars I’ve ever met.  A lot of that is based on his faith.  He’s a guy who not only talks it; he lives it.  I think he garners a lot of respect in this locker room because of that.”  Another teammate, David Lee, said Steph played an integral role in his decision to put God at the center of his life.  “It’s something that is a lifestyle for him,” Lee said. “I’ve watched him sometimes from a distance, but I’ve also asked him questions about his faith.  He’s been a huge influence on me.”

Steph Curry has a big stage, and he uses it.  For example, he began his MVP acceptance speech by saying, “I’m His humble servant right now and I can’t say enough about how important my faith is to who I am and how I play the game.”  During his 2014 season he said, “I know why I play the game, and it’s not to score 30 points a night, but it’s to use the stage I’m on.  I’ve been put here for a specific purpose: to be a witness and to share my testimony as I go through it.”

I could share many stories to convince you Steph Curry is the real deal, but that is not the purpose of this post.  The real purpose is to challenge you to think about what you are doing on your stage.

Most likely your stage is not as big as Steph Curry’s.  But don’t think for a second that you don’t have a stage. You have a family, friends, possibly a workplace, maybe a role in your community.  Each of these places is your stage.  Do the people who watch you day in and day out know you are a person of faith? Do you ever speak in a way that would reveal you are a person of faith?  And if the answer is yes to both of those questions, my next question then is: How can you do even more on your stage?

You don’t have to be a theologian or a Bible expert to let people know you are a person of faith.  It can be as simple as telling someone you will pray for them, sharing stories of when you have felt God’s hand in your life, or simply demonstrating patience, peace and acceptance during challenging times.

The people who watch you on your stage need you to witness in this way.  In fact, we all need to experience others living and speaking about their faith, even if we have traveled far in our spiritual journey. Steph Curry, as strong as his faith is, understands this well: “The time I spend with my wife is huge so we can continue to grow and not be complacent with where we are in our walk with Christ.  Obviously, we can all be better at that.”

And to be better at that, we all need each other to use the stages we have been given.