Matthew 11: 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
I read an article recently entitled: “Why Happy Athletes Are More Successful (And How to Be One)”. It begins with a quote from Kaci Lickteig (an endurance running champion): “If I run happy, I run well.” The article goes on to explain the importance of controlling the “inner voice”. Those who are able to change their mindset to the positive, tend to be more successful. For some athletes, exercise is a means to an end, while for others, exercise is a joy. It is the latter group who gets the most satisfaction from their sporting endeavors and they also enjoy the most success.
Personally, I find happy athletes (and actually happy people in general) to be magnetic. I have seen some runners finish some brutally difficult races, and they are clearly in pain and exhausted, yet they find a way to smile. You can’t help wanting to be with that person. Personally, I have found that as I get older I have more aches and pains when I run, play soccer, or take part in most sports. A small injury that would have healed in days when I was younger, now takes weeks or months. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I participated in exercise without at least some minor discomfort. I could complain about it every time I head out on a trail run, or even worse, I could stop doing exercise altogether, but I decided quite some time ago to appreciate what I can do and to take pleasure in it. If I can’t run for a while, then maybe I can get on my bike. If I can’t do either, then I can certainly still get in the pool for a swim or for water running. George Bernard Shaw said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”, and I say a big Amen to that.
I want to run the race of life with a smile on my face because I think God wants us to live our lives that way. I also think it is important because I want to be an effective ambassador of Jesus Christ. One of the most intriguing verses in the Bible for me is today’s scripture from Matthew 11:19, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” For a number of years now, I have made it my goal to figure this out. Jesus did not compromise on his stance on sin (he was righteous and sinless), yet he became a friend of the tax collectors and sinners. How did he do that?
I know I haven’t got it all figured out, but I am quite certain that I have part of it figured out. I am certain that Jesus did not walk around all day with a frown on his face. Yes, he expressed real emotions like anger (Matthew 21: 12-13), and sadness (John 11:35), but by in large I believe he walked around with a joyous glow, one which made him a magnet for the needy and the marginalized. I can just picture Jesus with the children (the disciples thought they were a bother), (Mark 10:13-16). Children are often more perceptive than adults and they would have gone running from a grumpy man, but I picture a warm, smiling Jesus and the children sitting securely in his arms, with their own big smiles.
How about you? How well do you represent Jesus? If people were to look at you in every day life, would they see someone filled with the Holy Spirit, someone with Jesus living in them, or would they see a grump?