Do we want to be on the team Jesus is coaching?
Before we answer that question, which seems a no-brainer, let us pause to see if we have what it takes to make his team.
Jesus picks exclusively those with the highest spiritual IQ. What is it? Well, let us see, first, what it is not.
We are heading for Super Bowl Sunday. Lots of teams started out, back in August of last year, dreaming of coming up with the right combination of skillful players on offence, defense, and special team to win it all.
However, to make it on Jesus’ team we must not be the most skilled ones but have the highest spiritual IQ. What is it all about?
“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Intentionally, purposely, Jesus picks only the humblest to be on his team, because the humble are the only spiritually smart ones to realize that God resists the proud and he gives his grace to the humble.
This way of picking a team of coworkers and disciples for the purpose of preaching the good news with their lives and bearing witness to his love, is so radically different that, Sunday after Sunday, the Church feels obligated to present to us God’s best players, lest we think that God chooses his people the way, the world over, coaches choose their first-string players.
God chose Israel, the most insignificant of all nations on the face of the earth to show his glory.
He picked Moses who had a speech impediment; David who was the youngest of 7 sons; the prophets who were all peculiar and some borderline misfits, and so on.
When God comes close to us to be born in time, he is born of Mary, the humblest handmaid of the Lord.
And he sets himself up as an example of meekness and humility: “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Matthew 11:29.
Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
a just savior is he,
Meek, and riding on an ass,
on a colt, the foal of an ass. Zechariah. 9:9
The first 12 on his team were of origins so humble that they went totally underestimated and overlooked as they set out to conquer the world armed with the Gospel and the foolishness of the cross.
God chose the foolish of the world, to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing to reduce to nothing those who are something. 1 Corinthians 1:27-28.
Jesus’ team is always so unique and unlike any other team that the Coach alone gets all the honors, accolades, and the credit as he shames the wise and reduces to nothing the haughty.
The second reason why Jesus picks those with the highest spiritual IQ, i.e., the humblest, is because they alone can dare to give serious consideration to the Beatitudes, the core of his teachings….
Why? Because in this world which, alas, loves darkness, crazy ideologies and which lusts for power through mind control, the poor are overlooked; those who mourn are considered a nuisance; the meek are crushed underfoot; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and truth are silenced; the merciful are dismissed as useless; those with a pure heart are ridiculed; those who work for peace are forced to pay the highest personal price.
Only the humble can doubt their views, their understanding, their way of thinking to embrace, although ever so hesitantly at times, this type of reasoning and let it shape their whole life.
Now, do we still want to be on Jesus’ team? How is our spiritual IQ; what is our level of humility?
Before we can answer, mindful that we are all born with original sin, the sin of pride and rebellion, I think, we should form the habit of getting to know our most inaccessible motivations and reasons at the source of our thinking, decision-making process, and actions.
This is hard—very hard!
We can reach the same goal by assessing the level of our hidden pride that keeps us stubborn, sulking, pouting, hurting, unyielding and, perhaps, even unforgiving.
Secondly, we can interpret for ourselves and for our families the major events covered by the news on any given day, and consider the arrogance and pride of those involved.
Then, wonder how things would have been different if all those involved had been truly humble(!?)
Thirdly, with renewed and constant help from the Holy Spirit, we should work at doubting our positions, our ways of thinking, our views and be ready to ask for guidance, for enlightenment, for advice, for time to reflect, for help.
Finally, to make Jesus’ team we should develop a basic, existential awareness of our spiritual poverty and a longing, a sort of spiritual thirst, for the light, the strength, the guidance, the comfort, the satisfaction that God alone can provide.