I’m so glad God is into losers.
He always has, and always will be. I can prove it because the Bible is full of splendid sinners, lovable jerks, miserable misfits and fantastic failures. And every single time God gave these losers, a hope and a future.
Manny Pacquiao had our attention this weekend. He was the good guy in the ring. He was the David against the Goliath. And he should have won the fight of the century!
However, he lost badly. And every decent God-fearing-Christian watching lost with him.
(Plus the loss for every fan who spent $100 dollars on a slow and boring bout. Best part about the investment was Jimmy Kimmel dressed liked Justin Bieber while wearing a Pac-man T-shirt!)
Manny the boxer is considered one of the best ever, and Saturday’s fight with the undefeated Floyd (Infamous-Annoying-Money) Mayweather had been anticipated by boxing fans for years.
It was almost literally, good vs. evil. Mayweather is a known criminal who has served time in jail for domestic abuse. He glorifies greed and has repeatedly diminished women, friends and foes.
Manny Pacquiao seems to be the opposite.
(But God has not favorites. And He loves the worst sinner as much as he loves Jesus the sinless one.)
We believers rooted for Manny because he was one of us. An outspoken Christian who gives credit to Jesus for his success. A family man who had a conversion experience like in the days of old.
He says in his broken English, “Everything I have accomplished, God has given me this strength. I used to sleep in the street, hungry, and I cannot imagine that the Lord raised me to this level of life.”
Yet somehow our Western Christianity assumes that God elects our presidents, saves our parking spaces and determines our sporting events. Over and over again, the elections and the scoreboard have proven, that God is way more interested in men serving than men winning. We have confused our faith with domination, authority and power, but its fullness is best experience in extravagant grace and servant leadership.
You see, Jesus is not interested in increasing our social status. He’s not really into climbing mountains of influence. His intention was never proving his might by way of knockouts.
He ruled while washing feet. He was humble and meek. And he conquered hearts not thrones or territories.
The Christ is the ultimate-champion-King who came to save the world… not to beat it.
If we believe Christianity is about winning, then we should be following everyone else, except him.
I think we are enamoured with the idea of a winner because we assumed that it validates our faith. We wanted Manny to win so we could say, “God supports us more than them.” We also want to write the script of our own lives with words like, “success, goals, dreams, achieve!” However, Jesus spoke in a language loaded with words like, “death, cross, forgive, love, serve.” And he clearly said, “Blessed (truly happy) are the poor in spirit.”
But don’t get depressed. Yes, there is victory with your name on it. Resurrection is our destination. We are all loved and accepted and our seat is in the heavens.
Just remember that while you pursue the win, you might be losing the battle of ambition. And when you push for the front, you end up in the back. So if you play the game of thrones, pride will become your coach and shame your motivator.
[bctt tweet=”Satan wanted to be a winner. Jesus came to be the servant of all.”]
The life of Christ was not glamorous. His days were constantly surrounded by losers and weaklings and prostitutes and traitors. His entourage was the worst. His marketing team uneducated. And his accounting department, Judas Iscariot.
“We have always been inclined to worship people or things we perceive as being great. So we exaggerate our own greatness, inflate our successes, downplay our weaknesses, and hide our scars… So what do we make of a God who is worshipped not for His might but for His weakness, even for His wounds? Not a human wearing the medals of military conquest to convince us He is a god, but a God who wears His suffering on His sleeve to convince us He is human? Instead of ‘my god can beat up your god, my king can beat up your king,’ Jesus’ path to kingship comes wrapped in a very odd strategy indeed: He is the King of kings largely because He lets himself get beat up. He is victorious not despite his scars but because of them. And by allowing His own life to be taken, Jesus exposed the pitiful ‘power’ of the bullies and disarmed it.” –Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? (A MUST READ!)
God is not into giving Christians automatic wins because they are Christians. That would “encourage” ambitious people to embrace Christianity as a business move. The gospel is about losing your life, in order to save your soul.
Jesus wanted the rich young ruler to lose his riches. He wanted Saul to lose his religious fervour. And he wants you and I to lose our desire for the gold medal.
Although a loser tonight, brother Pacquiao is a great sportsman, an honest politician and a respected family man. And God is his number one fan. Of course he is not perfect. Neither are we. Neither is Floyd Mayweather. Actually, we are all losers, and we only win when we stop trying to prove we’re not.
“The Lord has blessed me [with] everything I have … [my] political career and serving the Lord and being a boxer — and I believe God has a purpose,” Manny said. “It is beyond my expectation and imagination. I think it’s time to proclaim his name, not mine.”
After his dramatic encounter, Manny is living for others and loving God above himself.
So who gives a crap about a boxing match? In the ring of life, Manny is an undisputed champ.
I think we can learn a lesson after his loss. Let’s use whatever platform God has given us to declare something bigger than ourselves. Something bigger than a win.
[bctt tweet=”The chief end of man is to glorify God, by enjoying Him forever.”]
I’m proud of Manny for his loses and his achievements. He’s probably where he is now, because he was interested more in serving than winning.
I think I’ll try to do the same.
ps. Pacquiao made 120 Million Dollars in 36 minutes of boxing. That kind of feels like a win.
*Watch the Superb documentary on his life: Manny [HD] – Compelling, entertaining, real.
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. Paul in Philippians 2