Michael Jordan’s last shot with the Chicago Bulls was a game-winner to lead the Bulls to their 6th NBA Championship in eight years. Was it selfish for him to take the final shot? He had made countless other game-winning shots and was undoubtedly the best player in the world, so him taking the last shot gave his team the best chance to win. Conversely, if he hadn’t taken the last shot his team would have had a worse chance to win – you could argue it would be more selfish for him not to shoot the ball. (In today’s society we see examples of this that feign humility. But humility isn’t denying one’s God-given talents. If you are the best at something, humility isn’t denying that you are good at it, but this is a post for another day.) No, it wasn’t selfish for Michael Jordan to take the final shot.
So now I’ll ask last week’s question again, “Is it selfish for God to make salvation and life about himself?”
God is the source of life, the creator of the universe and everything in it, so of course it is about him, just like Michael Jordan was the best player on the team, so of course he took the last shot. If we want paradise, if we want abundant life, then God is the best place to go, but are there other options? Is there a second-best? My sports analogy suggests there are, but it isn’t meant to take us there, and we’ll make a grave mistake if we overextend the analogy and say that we are like Michael Jordan’s teammates.
While Scottie Pippen, one of Michael Jordan’s teammates, would be a downgrade from Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen was still more than capable of making a big shot. But we are as capable a substitute for God as my four-year-old nephew is a capable substitute for Michael Jordan. If salvation or life was about us, the world would crumble – news proves it. God is the only option if we want abundant life.
Listen to how Paul says it in 2 Thessalonians:
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 2 Thessalonians 1:9
Eternal destruction is a byproduct of being separated from the presence of the Lord. If God showed “humility” and removed himself from our world because he didn’t want to appear to be selfish, he would doom us to destruction.
I love they lyrics of a song we sang at Redeemer this past Sunday, lyrics that proclaim why it isn’t selfish for life to be about God. They go like this:
All the glory, glory, glory is Yours
You are worthy, worthy, worthy of more
God is the author and source of life, and he alone is worthy.