Lately, the buzz on the local sports talk radio channels has been all about Dirk Nowitzki, the star of the Dallas Mavericks, and what his future might be. All sources seem to indicate that he will be opting out of his current contract to sign a new deal with the Mavericks, a move that would give him more money in the long run and allow the team to save a little money to spend elsewhere on another free agent. Locals believe that Dirk is a legitimate star and #1 option who need only to have the right pieces put around him in order to win; however, many in the national media think that Dirk is a good #2 option at best.

The argument against Dirk as a #1 is flawed. It places expectations upon Dirk that aren’t applied equally to other stars in the league. For example, though LeBron has not won a title, this failure is placed on the inability of the Cavalier organization to put the right pieces around him to maximize his potential; yet, while the exact same scenario is true for Dirk, people was to say that he’s just not a capable #1 option. It’s ludicrous. Kobe didn’t win (after Shaq) until they brought in Gasol to help him. Jordon didn’t win until Pippen arrived. Pierce didn’t win until he got Allen and Garnett. The point is that it’s not about an individual at all – it’s about putting the right pieces together to form the best team.

This discussion peaked my interest because one of the biggest struggles I face in my humanity as a pastor is related to my value and ability. As I’ve said before, I fluctuate between inflation and deflation of my own ego.

Some days, I am tempted to believe that I am not good enough…that I can’t carry the load by myself…that I’m really only a good #2 guy that is supposed to make other #1 guys look good. The whisper in my ear says, “You’re only a Pippen.”

Other days, I feel like there’s no smell emanating from the restroom as I depart from a different kind of number two.

Usually, it is one extreme or the other – the sin of not staying balanced and living within the tension.

I think my lack of stability stems from my tendency to evaluate myself against others. We all want to know that we are good enough and that we have what it takes to stick with this ministry thing for the long haul…and part of the way we gauge that is through the unfair and flawed system of comparison.

Wait, did I just say that out loud?

One day, I will learn to trust. To let go of my control. To flourish in the context to which God has called me instead of comparing myself to others. To finally accept who I am and how God has called me to serve. To rid myself of the temptation to think too highly or too lowly of my identity and ability. To stop using ungodly measurements to determine my worth. To know that a mosaic put together by God is much more beautiful that anything I could ever paint or assemble.

One day.

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