«The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation». Psalm 149:4
AS THE 1998-1999 SEASON of the NBA came to an end, San Antonio was crowned champion by defeating New York. The «Twin Tower» pair, David Robinson and Tim Duncan, gave San Antonio an advantage they were able to use. Robinson’s experience and Duncan’s youth were too much for New York. Even though everyone knew Robinson had been a key factor in winning the championship, Duncan was named Most Valuable Player in the finals. Robinson had been playing in the NBA for ten years while Duncan was just wrapping up his second season.
Thousands of people felt that this decision had been quite unfair, and Robinson mentioned it in a Sports Illustrated article. He admits he would have loved to receive the trophy, that it felt strange to see Duncan receive such a highly-regarded award, but that his faith «helped me deal with so many things, including matters of ego and pride.» And while he looked at Duncan standing on the podium, he thought about the story in which David helped Saul obtain the victory over Israel’s enemies; and about how Saul did not enjoy the triumph because he did not like people saying, «Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands» (1 Samuel 18:7). Finally, Robinson added, «I’m blessed that God has given me the ability to just enjoy the victory. So Tim killed the tens of thousands. That’s great. I’m happy for him.»*
David Robinson gave us a solemn example of humility. As the poem Desiderata says, «there will always be people who are bigger and smaller than you.» Thus, the best path is the one Robinson chose, which is also the one Paul recommends: «Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves» (Philippians 2:3, GNT).
What we need is humility, not encouraging rivalry. I know that this does not fit into a world where competition is everything; but one of the great and unfathomable things God does is to «raise the humble» (Job 5:11, GNT). Let’s not forget the Lord «gives grace to the humble» (James 4:6, GNT), and soon «He will beautify the humble with salvation» (Psalm 149:4). Wouldn’t you like to receive that promise?