If you ain't first , you're last?



Who watched the Super Bowl! I rooted for the Chiefs because I’ve always liked Andy Reid and I wanted to see him win a Super Bowl. Aside from the game, I know that a lot of people watch the game not because they want to see the game but for another reason. Can you guess what it is? Right! The commercials! Companies spend millions on a thirty or sixty-second commercial! Crazy right! I bet you can name some of the commercials you’ve seen over the years. I remember a Budweiser commercial that had the horses playing football on a snow-covered field. Doritos usually has funny commercials. There are commercials that make us laugh and some that make us stop and think about what we just saw.

This world we live in is consumed with consumerism, isn’t it? I mean who spends millions of dollars on a commercial unless they really want you to buy their product. They’re not spending millions to lose money so the hoped-for result is that they will make much more money than what they spent on that commercial. Commercials tell us a lot about our culture, don’t they? “Go for the Gusto!” I think that was a beer commercial years ago. “You Deserve the Very Best”. Remember that one? Those ads make us feel like we need to go for it in life or we deserve the best, so we need to do whatever is necessary because, well, we deserve it! Our world teaches us to push others out of the way. We need to be first. There was a movie called Talladega Nights and the character said: “If you ain’t winning you’re losing!” That’s our world’s philosophy, isn’t it? If we’re not first we’re losing. But here’s the thing. If we listen to the words of Jesus. He says that there is a different way.

“Then he (Jesus) began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

When we hear the words of Jesus it seems like his words are contradictory. Who says that being poor in spirit is something to be blessed about? When we hear the word poor we immediately think the opposite. But listen to this. Being poor in spirit means to be totally dependent on God. Those who are poor in spirit know that they bring nothing in their hands that God needs and nothing in their hearts that compels God to accept them. They bring their poverty, hoping for sustenance. They bring their brokenness, hoping for mending. They bring their sin, hoping to receive forgiveness. They bring their grief, hoping to be comforted. They bring their illness, hoping to be healed. They do not come bargaining, because they have nothing to offer. Their —poverty of spirit—has broken them, making them ready to receive God’s blessing. And that is what makes them blessed. They are blessed because now they are ready to hear and obey God and drop their own pride and self-sufficiency. Jesus has said that the kingdom of God will be theirs.

So where are we? Do we hear the words of Jesus and do we take them seriously or do we treat them like they’re meant for somebody else? Are we still chasing after the rewards of this world or have we submitted ourselves to the one who loves us with unending love, the one who says that our true rewards will come when we enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus showed us how to live our lives. Do we trust his words? Will we drop our expectations of what we deserve here and listen to his call. Will we seek to hear his words and do life in a different way?

AMEN