In this drama we call life, there are Winners and Losers. According to the world’s standards, he who dies with the most toys wins. It is about being the best, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, and attaining fame and fortune. The world certainly has their favorites and for a season, they are celebrated. The losers are everyone else.
The Losers are those who don’t get invited, don’t have the good seats or have legions of paparazzi who capture their every waking moment. The ‘losers’ are generally considered that great ‘unwashed mass’ in the center of the country, who the movie stars, politicians, and the rich and famous generally try to avoid.
But popularity, like the weather, are often fickle companions. They continually feed on change to keep things fresh and exciting. The rich and famous of the forties and fifties are the elderly today. Today’s generation doesn’t know or doesn’t care who and what they used to do. The rebels of the sixties are considered rather mild-mannered compared to today’s rabble-rousers. Those who were considered daring and radical back then, star in Infomercials today. All the while, that great ‘unwashed’ mass of men and women raise families, coach Little League teams, and get the bills paid.
Imagine if you will, the world as an open-air market, and you are on the conveyor belt (time) that takes you through it. You can’t get off or go backward, but always forward. The market is full of gadgets and goodies, distractions and intrigue, and every sort of feast for the senses. It matters not what you’re into, because there is a niche for it. This market’s main goal is to keep you preoccupied with what’s in front of you.
Everyone has their own ‘thing’, that if they could only master or possess, they will have ‘won’ by the world’s standard. Heaven forbid if you die doing what you love, that only adds to the lore. But for normal folks, maybe it’s a job promotion to a position you’ve long sought after. Maybe it’s the best golf score down at the country club or marrying that beauty queen you pursued all those years.
Some people will have spent their whole lives trying to obtain whatever it is that makes them feel ‘complete’. Some will spend the whole of their lives searching for that mystery that eludes them. As if unraveling it will make the jigsaw pieces of their life somehow magically fit together.
The losers usually don’t get the luxury of pursuing all the frivolities this world has to offer. So what they can’t get in luxury, they’ll take in pride. They work, supporting families, going to war, working the middle to low-end jobs. In other words, just trying to survive. But Winners and Losers alike must all ride this ride. And whether you’re on the top, bottom, or just somewhere in the middle, ultimately, you will reach the same destination. That destination is the same for every man and woman.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14
For those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, it doesn’t matter what station you find yourself in life. You could be wealthy and attractive, or dirt poor and ugly. You could command a six-figure salary, or almost entirely relying on food stamps and government subsistence to stay afloat. You could be a football star or that guy who couldn’t even afford the tickets. It matters not, because if you have Jesus Christ in your heart, you’ve already won.
We have not won because of who we are, but who Christ is. We have won because that victory was obtained by a God-Man two thousand years ago on Calvary’s Cross. So many people seek the small, irrelevant victories in this temporary life and completely overlook the one victory we can carry with us for all eternity, that being salvation by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.
The original painting of the “Mona Lisa” is considered to be priceless since no monetary value has been assigned to it. It is insured by the country of France and is held at the Louvre in its own 7.5 million dollar room. But how much is a copy of the Mona Lisa worth? Probably not much.
In a strange sense of irony, a world that so reveres and holds the ‘original’ up as a masterpiece, has rejected humanity’s Magnum Opus. It has rejected the archetype, for a facade. It gladly would trade the truth, for a lie. Men and women have been bought and sold a lie over and over, that salvation can’t be free, that it must be earned. The world will gladly take a Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Buddha, or L. Ron Hubbard, over the Creator-in-flesh, Jesus Christ. Being Christ-like in this time and place, and you are hated with hatred only those who dare to live it out, can fully know.
People have been told that they must maintain their righteousness. People have been taught that they must strive to unravel the mysteries in order to be ‘enlightened’, and only then, can they be free. People have been told money, things, and prestige are all you need in this life. It is these lies that have kept a torrent of souls pouring into hell for the last 2,000 years.
For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. Philippians 3:18-19
When a brother or sister in Christ departs from this dying and fallen world, we don’t mourn them like those who die without Christ. We miss them for sure, but only in the sense that we have to spend the rest of our days here without them. Those in Christ know that our common salvation will reunite us again in the next life. We will know, as we are known, and we will spend eternity wrapped in the light and glory of Jesus Christ.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21
We recently lost a long-time member, Lou Talley. A friend, Vietnam Veteran, and most importantly, a brother in the body of Christ who dared to live out his faith. To my limited knowledge, Lou never made it on the ‘who’s who’ of important busybodies in this world. As far as I know, he never won the Nobel Peace Prize or an Emmy award. He never won the Heisman Trophy or a Grammy. But he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior and has won eternity in glory. (Makes all those little metal trophies seem rather insignificant doesn’t it?) We know we will see him again, and that now he is living out the hope he so long placed his faith in, on this side of life.
Originally published at the Omega Letter, January 16, 2012.