I’ve been watching a series of short videos on YouTube showing the top 100 greatest players in NFL history. The series spans many decades. Some of the football heroes I grew up watching are on the list. What I appreciate about the series is the biographical background of the players. Not all of them came from healthy homes or were considered candidates to become some of the greatest players of all time.
While I was listening to one of the videos, I had my earbuds on to not disturb Jan while she was reading. When I finished the video, not knowing what I had been watching, Jan read the following verses to me from the Message translation.
“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate, and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God” (I Corinthians 1:26-31).
I wrote the preceding paragraphs to share a simple, yet profound truth. You and I have been qualified for greatness because of who were are in Christ, not by our accomplishments. The accomplishments that come after we are saved and because of our faithfulness in response to that salvation are admirable and good, but they are not what puts us on God’s team. While we need to be faithful to the best of our abilities with what we have been given, the peace described in Scripture as something beyond our ability to comprehend does not come from our accomplishments. It comes from having been named among the redeemed in this life and living in assurance that in the next life we will be seated in heaven’s stadium as one of many in a great cloud of witnesses.