In a televised sharing broadcasted live to hundreds of millions of Chinese, NBA All-Star Jeremy Lin spoke unreservedly about his Christian faith and why he believes true success is found in understanding God's love.
"If I can encourage you guys to do anything today, it would be to love God and love others because God loves you," the 27-year-old athlete told a crowd of thousands gathered in Beijing for a charity event entitled "Beyond Dreams."
As earlier reported by the Gospel Herald, Lin joined other famous artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China for the August 8 event, which was hosted by the Prince of Peace Foundation and sought to raise money for special needs children throughout China.
After he was welcomed onstage by a loud applause, Lin began his offering by revealing he always dreamt of being successful. "I think today, people look at me and see me as a successful person," he said. "In highschool I won a state championship, I went to Harvard for college, and then I went to the NBA after college."
Lin said his success culminated in New York, with the start of Linsanity: "At this time, I was literally the most popular person on the planet. I thought to myself, 'I've finally made it.' But the one thing I'll always remember about Linsanity is how empty worldly success was."
The athlete recalled how, just three weeks after the start of Linsanity, his team played the Chicago Bulls, and he felt his happiness slowly slipping away.
"I thought, 'I'm slowly losing my happiness, I'm too focused on living up to Linsanity.' I had just achieved so much, and the next thing I was doing was replacing that with no goals. Linsanity happened; now I wanted to be an all star, I wanted to win a championship."
In continuing his reflections on the emptiness of worldly success, Lin explained that once you achieve such success, you simply want to replace it with another goal.
"Even if you achieve everything you want to achieve, at some point you're gonna want to have a family and kids. And you're gonna want those kids to have that same success, and they're going to go through that same cycle of chasing dream after dream after dream," he said.
Three years have passed since his time in New York, and Lin admitted they've been "very difficult."
"I've lost my starting position, my stats, my endorsement, my popularity have all decreased, and last season with the Lakers was a disaster. At first I was sad, then I became angry, then I finally just felt defeated. I remember thinking to myself, 'I'm in the NBA, I'm getting paid a lot of money, why am I so unhappy?'"
This mounting unhappiness prompted the athlete to question the meaning of the meaning of success: "For me, that's when I shifted my perspective from accomplishments to love," he explained.
"We all need love. I think this past season, the one thing I took away was I really felt God's love for me," Lin said as the audience erupted in cheers. "God has always shown his love for me throughout my whole life. I think if you look at my life, every bad situation, God always turns to a good situation."
After recounting several specific ways in which God has used unfortunate situations throughout his life for the greater good, Lin emphasized once again that God has "always really shown his love to me through his perfect plan."
"Last season was no different. There were so many games where I'd be so upset after, and I just remember- there were so many nights on the plane or in the car or at home where I'd just start praying. Every single time, God gave me this tremendous peace. Earlier, I talked about how after Linsanity, I didn't have much peace. This past year, I've had tremendous peace," the athlete said.
"I think that's when I realized - I might not know where I'm headed next in life, but I can trust who I'm following. God's love is bigger than anything life can throw at me. My response to God's love to me is it made me start to love other people," Lin said.
Because he was so moved by God's love for him, Lin revealed he started loving others in a similar manner: he started a Bible study for his teammates and began spending time with homeless individuals.
He recounted one particularly moving experience, when, after a tough game, he went to the park and began talking to a homeless man.
"He told me, 'I'm thankful today is such a beautiful day,'" Lin shared. "I thought, 'Man, this guy doesn't even have a home to live in.' I realized, this interaction, him loving me and me loving him, gave me this tremendous type of fulfillment."
In concluding his message, Lin encouraged his listeners to simply love God and love others if they want to find true success and fulfillment.
"Practically, what that will look like, if you're a student, hang out with a classmate who is always bullied. Or maybe you have a job, and it's hanging out with that coworker who is always by himself. Or maybe it's forgiving a friend or family member who has wronged you, maybe it's hanging out with orphans and widows, maybe it's hanging out with mentally handicapped people, or those who are marginalized in society."
"I think it's really important for us to think outside ourselves and love other people," he emphasized. "Regardless of what you do or where life takes you, success doesn't lie in what you accomplish. True success is love. Understanding God's love and spreading that love to others."