Thought for the month – November 2008
It’s been a favourite pastime of sports fans around the UK for most of my lifetime. A few famous victories cannot disguise the indifferent, poor and occasionally atrocious performances of the “home nations” in international sport.
There are bright spots. Andy Murray’s playing well; Lewis Hamilton is the first British F1 Champion since 1996; Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy was among a record-breaking number of medallists at the Beijing Olympics., Many people are optimistic of greater glory in London 2012.
We love to see TV programmes like Beyond the Boundaries in which disabled people take on challenges most able-bodied folk would fail. We cheer the “losers” who make good.But what of the down and outs in our community – those with drink and alcohol problems, broken marriages, disability or disease? Most people have no time for them. Even in our churches, those who “don’t fit” can suffer a rough ride.
Jesus had lots of time for misfits – whether due to disability or social status. The high fliers in among his Band of Twelve were a former tax collector and a thief who finally betrayed him. But Jesus knew that with God’s spirit in them people can change. He offered forgiveness to a woman who’d been divorced five times (John 4:1-26), he healed disabled people (Matthew 12:9-12, Luke 13 :10-13), and touched lepers (the HIV / AIDS problem of his day – see Luke 17:12-18).
And as we read on through the Bible, we discover the early Christians had the same attitude of generosity and compassion (Acts 2:44-47 Acts 3:1-10, Galatians 6:2). Remember that God has the same attitude as the good sports fan: that with the right coaching and proper application (God’s spirit working in our hearts to apply his Word), the biggest loser can be transformed and receive eternal life.
I believe in transformation / God can change the hearts of men
And refine the evil nature / till it glows with grace again.
Others may reject the weakling / I believe he can be strong
To the family of Jesus / All God’s children may belong.
John Gowans (Salvation Army Song Book no. 324)