Invested in others achievements

Melbourne Storm celebrate their grand final victory over Penrith.

Melbourne Storm celebrate their grand final victory over Penrith.

I spent Sunday night getting grumpy at the telly. The problem was that I am a Penrith Panthers fan. For the first time in 17 NRL seasons we had finished first and we had a grand final. Yet we fell agonisingly short at the final hurdle. Of course you may rightly ask why I say "we?"

I did literally nothing to contribute to the Panthers run to the Grand Final this year. I didn't throw a single pass or kick a single ball. I didn't manage to attend any of their games or even buy any merchandise. Every achievement of that team this year is rightly attributed to people who are not me.

Yet despite this I felt emotionally invested in every twist and turn which the Panthers experienced over the course of this season.

I know that many of you will find this idea confusing, maybe even ridiculous. It's only football and the achievements were not my own. By all means

However in lots of ways we all personally identify with the achievements of others. For some it is the sense of national achievement we feel when an Aussie does well on the world stage. For others it it the proud history of a community group we have become a part of. Perhaps most commonly is seeing a child or close friend achieve, and the sense of pride we personally feel when we tell other people about it.

There are plenty of situations in which we feel like we are somehow part of the achievements of other people. Far from this being a bad thing, I want to suggest that this is simply how we were made.

At the heart of the Christian message is the understanding that we only prosper, in any sense of the word, at the hand of another: our gracious, giving God. Everything from the air we breath, to the gifts and talents we have, to the material possessions we enjoy and anything else you care to name, comes from the hand of God.

Supremely we see this as we look to Jesus Christ. In his dying and rising again, Jesus has done for us what we could never have achieved for ourselves. There he earns reconciliation and peace with God for us. All the human effort in the world could never achieve what Jesus managed to do on that first Easter.

It is one of the defining features of humanity that we were never created to 'stand on our own two feet'. We were made to find our meaning, our purpose, our fulfilment, even the very core of our identity, in relation to who God is and who he has made us to be. We were made to get caught up in the cosmic drama which stretches from before the foundation of the world was laid, into eternity.

The best thing about realising this is that once we find all our hopes tied up in what Jesus has done we can't lose! Jesus is not like a football team who can be up one minute and down the next. He wont stumble at the final hurdle and disappoint us. Why? Because in rising from the dead he has already won the victory. And so when we become swept up in the great Story of Jesus our eternal hope has been secured.