This time last year, Cubs fans everywhere were desperate for bragging rights. The right to say, “my team is no longer a bunch of ‘lovable losers.’ We got game! We won the World Series!”
And of course they got those rights because their Cubbies became the 2016 World Series Champs.
People love to brag about their teams, don’t they? What a start contrast the idea of bragging rights is to the encounter that Jesus had with the rich young ruler.
You know the story. A rich young man asks Jesus how he can receive eternal life. First Jesus advises the man to obey the commandments. When the man responds that he already observes them, and asks what else he can do, Jesus adds:
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God…”
Maybe what Jesus was thinking was this. “Apparently, this guy doesn’t want to join a team where winning requires that you lose it all first!”
The Bible tells us that the young man became sad because he knew that his heart was committed to his wealth. His treasure was not the Kingdom of God but the kingdom of personal prestige, advancement and riches. Who knows? If the young ruler could have bought salvation, he might have agreed to part with some of his wealth in exchange for a seat at Christ’s banquet but he wasn’t willing to risk everything for it.
He obviously didn’t see the value in what Christ was offering. Jesus was offering the man bragging rights for starters. The joy of bragging about an upside down Kingdom that would defeat the Roman Empire and every empire that would follow for all time.
Indeed, a kingdom that would last for an eternity!
Thousands of Cubs fans paid a lot of money to go to one of the World Series games at Wrigley. Some of them drove hundreds of miles to downtown Chicago just to watch the parade when the team celebrated in the streets. Apparently the right to brag to their friends that they were there when the Cubs won it all was just too good to pass up.
Jeremiah 9:24 says this. “But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
So when was the last time you bragged to a friend about being conformed from being a “lovable loser” to a member of Christ’s winning team?
Something to think about.