The other day I was having a conversation with an area pastor, in which he lightheartedly disparaged my choice of Brazilian soccer teams. To be honest, I really don’t follow the Brazilian leagues that much, but everybody has to have a team, so I picked Palmeiras.
It just so happens that the Palmeiras team is currently on the top of the heap. They won one of the many national championships, and are now rated as “best in Brazil”. I mentioned that to my pastor friend, and he allowed as how that was true, but that one had to go by a team’s record. And the recent history of the Palmeiras record is not that great. In fact, up until this most recent season, they could have easily been described by the word “losers”.
I explained to my friend that this was simply following a pattern in my choice of teams to cheer for. For example, I was a Bills fan during all four Super Bowl attempts. When I moved to Florida, I rooted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers way before their (one and only) championship win. And, believe it or not, there has always been a soft spot in my heart for the New Orleans Saints.
Let’s face it, I like losers. And the reason I like them is because when the losers win, the glory is greater. My celebration when the Bucs won the Big One was intensified because of their history of losing. Someday when the Bills actually win the Superbowl, you can bet the city of Buffalo will be shut down for a week of partying, made greater by what the team and fans have been through during all these years of losing. The Saints…well…one can dream.
As I bantered back and forth with my friend, it dawned on me that this is precisely why God chose me. And you. He chooses losers.
I Corinthians 1:27-28 sums it up nicely:
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and dispised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are…
So there you have it. God chose a bunch of despicable, weakling morons (that is the actual Greek word) for his “team”.
This passage always brings to mind the painful images of my elementary years when two kids would be arbitrarily chosen to “pick teams” for kickball. All the “good players” would be chosen first, and then the second-tier players, until it got down to the last guy…which was usually yours truly. Then would begin the humiliating fight over “who has to take Andrew”. (Seriously, who was the genius who thought “picking teams” was a good idea?)
Now, imagine with me for a moment that one day onto our playground were to walk The World’s Best Kickball Player(tm). Of course he would be one of the “team captains”. Then imagine that he were to start by choosing the biggest loser (that would be me) and then moving on up the loser scale, until he had a team made up completely of losers.
Of course, at this point people would wonder if he were actually The World’s Best Kickball Player(tm). Some–if not most–would start to make fun of him. “Look at that team full of losers!” they would say.
But then The World’s Best Kickball Player(tm) would give us all his techniques, show us all of his secrets. Not only that, but of course he would be responsible for all the key plays and assists in the game. And before you knew it, the Loser’s Team would have won…something like 50 to 0.
There would be a stunned silence, followed by a bunch of losers in wild celebration. Of course we would recognize that our victory would have been impossible without The World’s Best Kickball Player(tm), and we would grab him and parade him around the playground on our shoulders.
And most certainly The World’s Best Kickball Player(tm) would get far more enjoyment and pleasure from having made a bunch of losers win than if he had picked the most talented players in the school.
I am convinced that this is EXACTLY why God chose me. Check out what verses 29 through 31 of the same chapter have to say:
…so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
Did you catch that? Being a loser qualifies us for being chosen by God, which qualifies us for victory, which qualifies us for bragging rights…in the Lord!
Sometimes I like to imagine what the first few moments will be like when the Church finds itself in the presence of it’s King. In my mind, it is beginning to look less like a church service and more like the end of a Super Bowl where the underdog team has won. The place will be going wild. The loser-turned-winner players (us) will be jumping around, hugging each other, shouting, crying and doing little victory dances. Then all eyes will turn to the One who is at once our Manager, Coach, and MVP (how’s that for an analogy of the Trinity?) and the “stadium” will be rocked by wave upon wave of deafening cheers.
So go ahead…embrace it…you’re a loser. I’m a loser. And God picks losers so His glory will be even greater.
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