Americans love to see an underdog win. We love to see a “Rocky Balboa” fighting and clawing his way to victory. But every now and then someone finds a way to win that seems too easy. Some people react with an “aha” moment: “it is so simple…now I see! Why weren’t we doing that all along?” But many people react by crying out, “no fair” and “cheat.” Turns out, most audiences don’t like to see someone change the way to win! It is the old fraternity idea…I was hazed so I’m going to haze the next guy.
Arthur Chu has learned this sad fact the hard way. Chu, who recently won his 3rd straight victory on Jeopardy, is making national news because Jeopardy audiences have grown increasingly hostile toward him (some even boo when he wins). Why? Chu doesn’t play right! He doesn’t grind out question after question from easier to harder in the traditional way. He tries to find daily doubles, answers more valuable questions, and wins based on strategy rather than most correct answers.
And they hate him for it. Audiences are calling for Chu to be taken off the show! Why? Because things that are “too simple” are usually equated with cheating.
People didn’t know how to take Jesus’ strategy either. It just didn’t seem right. He said, the last would be first. He said if you want to lead, serve others. He said if you want to be righteous, follow Him, not the traditions of the Pharisees. But people had been working really hard at doing things the Pharisee way for a long time! It was hard, very hard…too hard. People suffered while trying to follow all the rules the Pharisees had put on them.
Jesus showed them an easier burden, a lighter yoke. Of course, that message seems too simple to many people today, as it did in Jesus’ day. And they crucified Him for it. It seems like cheating. If someone can turn away from their old lifestyle (no matter how bad), confess Jesus as the Son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, they can get into heaven???
Of course, that is often easier said than done. It takes a change of heart, a change of mind, and a willingness to submit to something larger than ourselves. It isn’t easy, but it is simple. Jesus gave us an easier pattern – true worship, in His name and according to His authority. It is a winning pattern; won’t you give it a try?