Musing that last night’s television was about winners…
There were talent shows with people trying to demonstrate that they were the best. There were game shows where people wanted to win the most. And then there was football….
There is great emphasis on being a winner. Abba sung: ‘The winner takes it all, The loser’s standing small’; ‘You’re a loser’ has become a term of abuse.
As I try to understand the teaching of Jesus I read of one who redefined winners.
Yesterday I was musing on friendship: musing on Jesus words, ‘Greater love has no-one than this , that he lay down his life for his friends…’ The suffering servant who washes his friends’ feet is not the extrovert winner of a game show or a talent show.
There was the young man who upset his family, stopped working and spent his family fortune on wine women and song; returning home a failure, confessing that he has messed up, he unexpectedly finds himself to be a winner.
There was the nameless, bankrupt widow that was noticed and praised, rather than the rich and the good. Jesus was attracted to the unattractive, desired the undesirable and loved those deemed unlovely. He valued people as they were, despite – perhaps because of – their physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual limitations and shortcomings.
I love the quote of the old black preacher from Georgia: ‘Be who you is, ‘cause if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t.’
Those who Jesus praised were not the winners of the ‘Galilee’s got talent’ competition; he didn’t call his followers to win a million drachmas or be top of the Jerusalem Premier league.
Rather he redefined winners as ‘the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted….’