Even though the Houston Rockets were not a very good team and have already been eliminated from the playoffs, they continue to be a topic of conversation with their polarizing stars, James Harden and Dwight Howard. I’m actually a fan of James Harden, but I admit there are characteristics about him that are hard to figure out and fair to question. 

I’ve already written about his defense in a previous devotional, but today I want to look at the comment made by former Houston Rockets player, Robert Reid, to KHOU 11 Sports: “Harden is a tremendous player, but he’s not bringing it for the team. I’m sorry, I’m just going to say it. Harden looks after Harden.”

Wow, “Harden looks after Harden,” is a strong statement that not only represents selfishness, but may be a simple reason for why this team struggled so much throughout the season. In the NBA, it’s imperative that your best player elevates his teammates while leading well and not just focusing on his own stats or fame.

James Harden is not alone when it comes to being selfish. I admit that I battle not living in a way where “Bryce looks after Bryce.” That’s our default mindset, and we’ve been tricked into thinking that’s the way to “make it.” We buy into the idea that we have to “get ours” and do what makes us happy with no regard for others. But when we remain inwardly focused and self-centered, it becomes a major problem.

As followers of Jesus, it’s especially important to think about other people and put them ahead of ourselves. When is the last time we’ve served someone sacrificially without expecting anything in return? In our relationships, do we dominate the conversation by talking about ourselves or do we ask questions about their lives? Would we be described as truly caring about people or only caring about ourselves?

Although sobering to think about, it is critical to be aware of when desiring to follow Jesus. Thankfully He gives us the strength to love others and shows us how to do so by His great example in 1 John 3:16 (ESV): “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Paul also writes in Philippians 2:4, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Whether we are watching or playing basketball, nobody enjoys the “ball hog” or the guy only playing for himself. In life it’s no different, and even more worthwhile to fight against the “Harden looks after Harden” mentality. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive me for my selfishness. Please help me to think about others more, serve them sacrificially, and not be so inwardly focused. Please give me a heart that truly loves and cares for others. Thank you, Jesus, for your example of true sacrifice. In Your name I pray, amen.