“Bye, mom, I’m going outside to play hockey,” Jack yelled as he ran out the door.
“Okay,” replied his mom, “dress warm.”
“I will,” Jack said.
Mom watched through the living room window as Jack met his friends Ryan and Daniel in front of the house.
Then a few more boys and a couple girls appeared, wielding hockey sticks.
“Okay, we’re going to pick teams,” Jack’s mom heard Jack say, “Ryan, you’re on my team, Daniel, you too, Donald, you’re on the other team, so is Sally and Jen.”
“Hey,” Donald protested, “who made you boss?”
“Let’s just play hockey,” said Jack, ignoring Donald’s comment.
Mom watched through the window.
Later that evening, as the sun was going down, Jack’s mom stuck her head out the door and called,
“Jack, dinner’s ready.”
As Jack was helping set the table, his mom asked,
“How was your hockey game?”
“Great!” replied Jack. “We slaughtered the other team.”
“Of course you did. I saw how you stacked the teams.”
“How else are we supposed to win?” asked Jack.
“How do you suppose Donald, Sally and Jen felt?”
“They know what it feels like to be dazzled by some superb stick handling,” replied Jack.
“Now, Jack. They didn’t look dazzled to me,” replied his mom.
“Mom, you don’t understand. It’s important to win. What am I supposed to do? Not try so hard because the weakest players can’t keep up?”
“No, that’s why we put you in a league. But when picking a team outside, have you thought about how Jesus picked his team?”
“His disciples. He chose some pretty strange people. People many other people didn’t even want to talk to. But Jesus chose them to be his disciples.”
“I don’t know. Maybe he saw something in them that no one else could see. Maybe he knew that we are more than our weaknesses. Maybe because he knew that God didn’t see winning as how many pucks go into the net, but by how much we love each other.”
Jack thought that was simply bizarre. But before they sat down to eat, they said a prayer like this as we do now:
Dear God, help us to win by loving others. Amen.