Tuesday, March 28, 2006

If God is for us, what can be the odds against us?

Of the 3,000,000 fans who filled in the brackets on espn.com’s March Madness Bracket contest, exactly 4 picked George Mason University to reach the Final Four. (By the way, if you haven’t been following the tournament, GMU is in the Final Four)

Going into the tournament, odd makers had put 250-to-1 odds on GMU getting this far. As long as those odds are, they don’t even approach the nearly one-in-a million ratio from the brackets contest. I would like us to focus here not on GMU’s odds at making the final weekend, but at the lack of faith the sports world had in GMU’s Bomaking it to the final weekend.

We Christians are generally pretty good at explaining the good news of Jesus; that, in spite of our own unworthiness, God loved us enough to send Jesus to restore a relationship between us and our Creator. In theory we understand this. In practice, I believe, we do not.

My experience of going on two decades of pastoral ministry has shown me that most of us are deeply and profoundly in touch with our own unworthiness. We have no problem playing the “we’re all sinners” card if someone dares challenges us with perfection. We are so deeply in touch with our general failure, in fact, that we don’t expect anything to be able to overcome it. We still believe in God; we just don’t believe in ourselves.

From what we know of Jewish practice during Jesus’ time, if a rabbi invited someone to be his follower, it meant the rabbi believed the follower could indeed follow the rabbi. When Jesus called Peter and James and John and Matthew and the rest, then, he implicitly claimed that he, Jesus, the Son of God, believed that they could indeed follow.

In our minds, the odds of us following our Rabbi are far worse than a million to one. But let this sink in: if Jesus calls, Jesus himself believes we can follow.

I don’t know about you, but I will go with those odds!


At 8:44 PM, Blogger czimskey said...

I think the most difficult thing for a lot of people (myself included) is that we think of Jesus' call to disciplship as some kind of latent offer... that when we believe we are ready we should then take up our cross. But as we should be very aware, when our Rabbi calls us, we should drop what we're doing and go out on the boat with Him. He knows that we are ready. We should step out on the water. And the comfort is, like you mentioned, that we have not been called beyond what we can handle. Praise that.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger czimskey said...

oh, and my bracket got absolutely wrecked. I had Syracuse beating Duke. That should give you some sort of idea. It was pretty much downhill from there.


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