Thursday, December 13, 2012
Choosing Your Heroes
WIWAK (when I was a kid) a couple of my sports heroes were Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. How does a small-town Texas kid choose to cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers? I've been asked that question hundreds of times over the years, and other than the undisputed fact I've been a contrarian pretty much from birth, I have no idea.
Rocky Bleier's story is the stuff of movies (and they did one, starring Robert Urich). Grew up in Appleton, WI, college football at Notre Dame, drafted by the Steelers...and also drafted by the US government. Bleier went to Viet Nam, where a "chi-chom" grenade exploded at his feet and caused severe damage. But Rocky didn't let that stop him. While doctors told him he would have to work hard just to learn to walk correctly, his goals were much higher. He wanted to play in the NFL. He worked hard, in the weight room and on the field. And he made it. Successfully. With Harris, they became the first NFL backfield to have 2 thousand-yard rushers. He's got multiple Super Bowl rings.
Now that's a hero. At least the way we choose them. Hard-working, hard-charging, successful-against-all-odds kinds of heroes.
God, though, seems to choose differently. His choices don't seem to be based much at all on hard work, values, morality, character, perseverance and the like--all the things we look for in heroes.
God's choices are on the margins of society. They have questionable moral fiber. They lie. They cheat. They steal. They murder. And to Jesus' point in Matthew 5, we're guilty of these things too.
God chooses heroes who are poor and meek. He has special favor for those hungry and thirsty, sick, naked, imprisoned.
In short, God's heroes are almost always the disenfranchised. The younger brother. The woman. The immigrant. God chooses those who have no power, because in them is where his power is most excellently proclaimed.
Why should God choose you? Why should he choose me? What do we do that earns the favor of God?
There is no other reason than this: he's just good that way. I'm chosen because of the chooser, not the choosee.