In 1992, Gatorade developed a commercial highlighting the basketball icon, Micahel Jordan. The song associated with the commercial repeatedly said, “I wanna be like Mike.” The concept and quote spread and those 3 words were used often when any young (or old) basketball player would do some sort of impressive maneuver.
Imitating professionals athletes is something every young man or young lady has done at some point in their young life. I remember as a young baseball player, I would mimic certain players in the climatic events of the game. Outfielder running to the fence, jumping to catch a fly ball robbing the batter of a game winning home run. Or how about this . . . bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, 2 strikes, down by 3 and basses were loaded and of course, you’re up to bat. Setting up for the game winning, walk-off grand-slam. Can anyone who grew up playing sports relate to this?
Why am I writing about this today? Well, as a kid, we do our best to imitate our heroes on the field or on the court. Every young athlete wants to play in the big game. Every young musician wants to be in a band. But, as adults, somewhere along the line we “grow up” and stop emulating the heroes of our youth. The reality is you can apply this to any aspect of life. We see successful people in a certain area of life or ministry and we may respect them or look up to them, but how often do we mimic them. Recently, I came across a video from a Kobe Bryant basketball clinician that talked about the basketball superstar Steph Curry before anyone knew his name. If you want to see the whole video, you can check it out here. The one thing he mentioned that I’d like to bring up here is this.
“Success is a choice – Are the habits you have today on par with the dreams you have for tomorrow?”
Not only should we replicate the actions of our heroes in the public but we must mimic their behavior in preparation. I’ve heard many times over the years, I wish I had a ministry like such and such public figure. I often respond with, if you’re willing to do what they did to get to that point in their ministry, you can have that too. As a director of musical productions, I know many people would love to simply perform when the crowds come but if you don’t spend hours and hours in rehearsal and preparation, you’ll never get to the point of having an excellent performance.
As I wrap up, even though the purpose of the gatorade commercial was drink Gatorade and be like Michael Jordan . . . because he drinks Gatorade. The implications of those words, Be Like Mike, took a much larger meaning for many young athletes. (For what it’s worth here’s the 1992 commercial.)
My challenge today is actually both practical and spiritual in nature. You can look at many spiritual leaders today and attempt to be like them. We may mimic how they speak or even how they dress. But our spiritual heroes will always fall short of the ultimate spiritual hero – Jesus. So, in reference to this blog post, don’t only look at the messages Jesus taught on the mountain top, but look at the preparation in prayer Jesus established in the wilderness. Then when we say I want to be like Jesus, we understand fully what that means. Be excellent in the prep as well as the performance. Be blessed and go “Be Like Jesus.”