Sometimes in life we are asked to choose between a situation that will benefit over something we really want. From the footballer who has the option to go for goal or pass the ball to someone in a better position. Or the defender who courageously puts their body on the line to intercept without a thought about the injury they will sustain. I believe the decision is based on a question of team success against personal glory? I would argue that the choice you make will determine your influence and standing amongst the team and its ultimate success. Thus, it highlights what is your priority your own or the team’s attainment?
Additionally, on the theme of personal gain in contradiction of selfless action for the greater good I have recently been watching the Last Kingdom. In this series it could be argued that the central character Uhtred is manipulated by the Danes and the English and Kings and Queens for their own power and riches. Often Uhtred is torn by the Danes who raised him after his English family were defeated in battle and the English Kings who give him a purpose to reclaim his family’s lands which are his birthright. Hence, he is conflicted by loyalty to the Danish who spared his life and the English royalty who by winning battles bring him closer to the prize of being the Lord of the Castle and the Lands he was born into. Unfortunately, the more battles he wins the further away he seems from achieving his goal. What drives Uhtred to continue fighting? I would argue Uhtred’s intrinsic motivation doesn’t come from winning the battles for the Lords he serves but for the people who live in those lands.
Finally, Jesus didn’t just make a personal sacrifice for a team, or a country but for the whole world. Jesus engaged people with his teachings despite opposition from the ruling power and the religious authority at the time who plotted then eventually succeeded in bringing about his death. The miracles he performed illustrated God’s power and changed people’s lives not only physically but spiritually. Therefore, people moved by his words and actions begin to the spread the good news of God’s Kingdom throughout the world by teaching and living his Gospel values. Jesus then made a promise to all people who followed him,“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17.
So, although unselfish acts by sports people can lead to victory, or a warrior fighting to win a battle the true difference maker is Jesus’ whose death and resurrection generated millions of followers throughout the world today aspire to living his Gospel values.