Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Big Dance

For the first time, the men’s basketball team at George Mason University has made it to the Final Four. In college sports, the Final Four is a big deal and a Big Dance; it will be covered all weekend long.

Until now, GMU was known as a lesser program with less of a chance. They are therefore deemed a “Cinderella story.” As one GMU student explained, “Before this, nobody knew what George Mason was. Now, friends call me and say, ‘I wish I were there.’”

The Bible is filled with Cinderella stories. Israel is described as a politically unattractive choice to represent the God of the universe – yet God chooses Israel anyway. David appears the weakest choice of twelve brothers – yet God chooses him anyway. Fishermen, tax collectors, and even prostitutes seemed unusual choices to build a kingdom – yet Jesus chose them as witnesses and representatives. Time doesn’t permit me to list the other 100+ examples.

Why is God so interested in Cinderellas? By choosing weaklings and misfits, God proves that his kingdom’s success belongs to him. It’s as if a coach found some of the most unsuccessful players, formed a team, and won the NCAA tournament: the praise would rightly go to the coach. Certainly he utilized some of the latent talent in his team, but it wouldn’t have happened apart from him.

But there’s another reason God is interested in Cinderellas. It is part of his nature to show mercy by lifting up the weak. Consider, for example, one of my favorite psalms:

Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust

and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,

with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home

as a happy mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 113:5-9)

God stoops down. God finds the poor and the outcast and lifts them up. And the result? Read the last three words again.

Hopefully I’m a “team player,” but I don’t kid myself – I’m not God’s most valuable player. But I am glad to be part of the Big Dance.


Joseph Adrian said...

Ken,you make many great points here.The Lord often chooses weak vessels to accomplish His purposes.He does this intentionally so that the glory is given not to the vessel that God choose to use,but to the One that created the vessel for that very purpose. You use the word anyway in writing about the Lord's choosing of Israel and David(I don't mean to nitpick),but I think that is either to weak a word or the wrong word altogether. He choose them because of those very weaknesses and frailties so that His power would be displayed and in fact necessary, because of those frailties. This insures that the One who should receive the glory will in fact get that, which He alone deserves.

njcopperhead said...

George Mason himself is not well remembered today, but his legacy lives on regardless.

"The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, one of our really great men, and of the first order of greatness."
Thomas Jefferson April 3, 1825