One of the advantages of living here is watching the Olympics on Eurosport. They didn’t pay $800 million for the broadcast rights, so it’s nothing too fancy. But to me, live feeds at all hours of the day, and covering virtually every sport is the way the Olympics should be seen. We once watched a 50 kilometer cross country ski race for two hours in silence [we turned off the German commentary]. I loved seeing the snow and watching one of my personal favorite sports [and Saturday nights here can be slow].
Of course, Eurosport also shows the medal ceremonies, the winners on the podium, receiving the applause and adulation of the crowd. It’s always inspiring to see the triumphant champions get the glory they deserve. And afterwards, they’ll be rewarded with rich advertising contracts and held up as models of hard work and talent. Some of them will land on a box of Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions.”
I confess I like Christian celebrities. I like to hear about successful athletes who are models of faith. I like to think I’m on the winning team. I’m apt to think: “Christianity: The Religion of Champions”.
The only problem is that’s dangerous thinking. A truer Christian version of that slogan would be something like “Jesus Christ: Feast for Losers” because that’s who Jesus welcomed into His kingdom. Not just the winners, the rich and famous and successful people, but also losers, failures, the undisciplined, the untalented.
In the country where I live, the criticism is often made that the message of the gospel targets the poor, the helpless, those who don’t know any better. In other words, the losers. The critics are exactly right. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy. He warned about people who love the places of honor and important seats, people who clean the outside but inside are full of greed, people who strain out gnats from soup and then swallow a whole camel.
He sought out everyone including the:
unproductive and lazy
That’s who I’ll find on God’s Olympic podium, receiving the crown of life. Some of them will be smelly, emotionally needy, unattractive. Some of them will be beautiful and wealthy. Altogether, it will be a motley crew, a most undeserving lot.
Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
I Corinthians 1:26-31 The Message