Reading on-line devotionals is part of my spiritual practice. There’s always ‘good stuff’ to ponder and pray about. This comes from the U.C.C. Stillspeaking Daily Devotional. May 28, 2014. I love the analogy Matt uses and truly appreciate his description of the disciples in the fifth paragraph.
“You did not choose me but I chose you.” – John 15:16
Remember back in elementary school when teams were being divvied up and a few kids were always the last ones to get picked? But enough about me.
In an episode of the Wonder Years the main character, Kevin, complains to his gym teacher about this unfair and humiliating tradition of choosing up sides. The teacher responds by making Kevin a captain. Kevin responds by picking all the un-athletic nerds for his basketball team. The other guys respond by summarily crushing Kevin’s team on the court.
At the end of the game Kevin releases a shot which appears to be bound for glory, but instead hits the gym teacher while he’s eating a sandwich. We hear Kevin think: “In that instant, basketball became fun again.”
If Jesus wanted to win the religious game He should have chosen better players for His team; people who had natural religious ability and trained hard. People who prayed three times a day, knew their Bibles, fasted, and tithed. All that stuff.
*Instead Jesus picked crude, foul-mouthed, smelly, fishermen. He picked a well-known crook of a tax collector. He picked a political extremist. He picked a cynic and doubter. And Jesus picks us, fickle, unreliable and sinful as we are. The saying is true: God elects the rejects. ☺
But here’s the difference between Jesus’ team and Kevin’s. With Jesus, victory is already assured. So it truly isn’t about whether we win or lose on the court of life. It isn’t even about doing our best as if victory depends on us.
It’s about saying, “Yes,” to our Captain and enjoying the game.
Matthew Laney is the Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, UCC, in Hartford, Connecticut.