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I Pick Jesus
Photo: Kathy Wynn
I think one of the prickliest positions to be in as a kid is the choosing of sides for teams in school sports. I was somewhere in the middle: not the first to be picked, but not the last either. My pain came in the suffering of others—and they were usually the same ones each time. You know them too. They were the kids who, for one reason or another, just didn’t seem to fit into the athletic mode, and because of this, they were forced to endure the calling out of other people’s names by captains whose athletic excellence far overshadowed any fitness in human sensitivity.

Somehow, it seemed that those kids got used to being called last. They just kind of stood, tapping their feet, waiting for it to all be over. But it always bothered me, and what bothered me most was how the P.E. teachers never seemed to catch on to this agonizing method of forming teams. What were they thinking? Why didn’t they just choose the sides themselves and avoid the repeated public display of rejection?

Apparently, you can’t always depend on adults to do the right thing. Fortunately, however, there will sometimes be a kid who will step up and take that adult’s place. I’m so happy that my son had the chance to be one of those kids.

One day in high school P.E. when he was chosen to be a captain, he made a point of choosing the most unlikely kids to be on his team in dodge ball. Since he was a dodge ball champ, his curious selection really raised some eyebrows. Especially by those being selected! One by one, he called out the names of kids who had been left until last in previous times. As they heard their names, they would look at him in disbelief and point to themselves as though to ask, “Me?” His nod would affirm their place on the team, and before long, there were two teams formed:  the top players and the formerly non-players.


This simple act of affirmation and confidence transformed the new group into active, competitive participants. How did it turn out? You guessed it. They won! True story.I was thrilled that these kids, who had so long been overlooked by the jocks, were vindicated.

And then, an image captured my brain and held me captive. It was an image of me being a captain, standing before the crowd of people to choose for my team, I noticed someone quietly looking my direction, watching me with hopeful eyes, but not forcing himself to the front. He was just waiting, hoping to hear his name called. Waiting to show what he could contribute to my success, and anxious to bring me to a victory. But I’d have to choose him.

It was Jesus. The image really made an impact on me as I realized how often we all have the chance to choose Jesus to be on our side and how often we may overlook him in the crowd of other more popular choices. I thought of how I had felt compassion for the kids who had been left out, and then I considered how left out Jesus must feel when he is overlooked too. I hope I never lose the feeling of Jesus waiting for me to call his name, and I hope he is never surprised when he hears it.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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