As the NBA season gets underway, I am always fascinated by the athleticism of these players. To see individuals who are so huge, yet so graceful, is amazing. Similarly, I look at NHL hockey players and marvel at the moves they can make on ice—movements that many of us would be challenged to do on dry land. The speed, power, and grace of the athletes in these two winter sports is impressive—and can be more than a little intimidating. It can cause those of us who are mere mortals to feel both wonder and embarrassment at the same time. Wonder at their athletic abilities and embarrassment at our own lack of such remarkable gifts.
But as I ponder that, the phrase “mere mortals” pulls me back. It makes me think. And thinking is a very good thing. The great Christian thinker, C. S. Lewis wrote,
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours (The Weight of Glory).
This was, for me, an “aha” moment—one of those life instances where presuppositions are challenged and new thinking brings light to the darkness. There are no “mere mortals”—there are only those creations of the eternal God who are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). There are no “ordinary people” but, rather, those who have “eternity in their hearts” (Eccl. 3:11). The men and women with which we circulate every day are eternal beings who will spend that eternity somewhere—a fact so overwhelming that God sent His Son into the world to rescue us from the eternal consequences of our sins and failings.
So, in those moments in which we are tempted to bemoan or lament our lack of size or speed or strength or skill or significance, it is helpful to remember that none of us is a mistake or an accident. We are the marvelous creations of the eternal God who loves us and gave Himself up for us. Do you know Him?
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain