On Being Gracious

I'm in no shape to operate heavy equipment (like a keyboard) this morning after sitting up watching Alabama somehow coming back to beat Georgia for the national championship. I was pulling for the Tide, which is totally unusual; I usually pull for the rebels when the Empire strikes back!  But there was an interesting lesson there buried in the football. Alabama won because their star quarterback Jalen Hurts, who had a terrible first half, was replaced by freshman Tua Tagovailoa.  As the dormant Tide offence suddenly become dominant, the camera kept zooming in on Hurts on the sideline. I guess they were waiting for him to pitch a fit after being benched; what the camera got was a lesson in class.  Hurts was always involved in the game, shouting encouragement to his teammate.  When Tagovailoa threw a quick touchdown pass, Hurts was the first to to congratuate him.  When he hit the bomb that gave Alabama the championship, Hurts exploded onto the field to celebrate.  When interviewed after the game, Hurts was gracious in giving Tagovailoa all the credit, “Tua did his thing for the team.” In turn, Tagovailoa gave the credit to God, his parents and his teammates. What could have been a difficult, awkward situation was handled with great graciousness because the star who was used to being the center of attention was more concerned with others than with himself.

Paul tell the Philippians, “Let your graciousness be known to everyone” (CSB).  The word here in the NIV is “gentleness.” The word in the NLT is “considerate.”  The ESV has “reasonableness.”  Paul stressed two things about this graciousness/gentleness/reasonableness that we are to show to one another as brothers and sisters in the Christ.

  • First, it is to be obvious to everyone. Everyone should be about see that we are not expecting the star treatment and pitching a fit because we aren’t getting our way.  There was an Alabama player (former player?) who went nuclear when someone something he didn’t like and he went after them on the sidelines and had to be restrained.  That’s not good!  That scene is often replayed in churches when we don’t get our way!
  • Second, the Lord is near. The game is going to be over soon.  We must maintain a graciousness and gentleness toward one another because the Lord may be coming at any time.  He will want to know how we treated His brothers and sisters when He gets here.

Tua Tagovailoa impressed a lot of people last night; Jalen Hurts showed the kind character than will take him take him a lot further than just football.  If Christians could only be as gracious and as concerned with our “teammates,” and and as less focused on just ourselves, the church would be much better off!