“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Rev. 1:8 NRSV)
The Kentucky Derby was this past weekend, in case you missed it. Having a father who grew up in Kentucky and having lived there for seven years while in school, it has always been a big deal in our home. We gather together and decide which horse we will root for. All for bragging rights mind you. Being good United Methodists rooted in Wesleyan theology, we don’t gamble.
But since it is for bragging rights, I’m going to take a moment and brag that I did, in fact, pick the winner. That makes two years in a row I’ve emerged victorious in our family. Which really isn’t all that impressive. The last two years I’ve gone with the favorite to win. That’s usually a good idea. They are favored for a reason. In fact, the favorite won the Kentucky Derby the last four years in a row.
Since we have a pattern, its probably safe to say next year the favorite will win again. expect it doesn’t work that way. Anything can happen. A horse might run the best race of its life while another had a bad day. Or gets spooked. That’s why it’s called gambling. Because here is no such thing as a sure thing.
But what if there was a sure thing? A no lose, you’ll win guarantee sure thing. What would you do? Would you be willing to go all in on a sure thing? Would you hold onto the sure thing or let it go on a gamble that won’t pay off?
Is there a sure thing in life? Several years ago at our annual meeting for our denomination in our area a particularly contentious resolution came to the floor. There was a lot of arguing and protests on both sides. When the vote came, some were less than thrilled with the result. In fact a few of them were livid over what transpired. two young delegates came stalking back to their cottage protesting what had happened and threatening to leave the denomination. To their surprise their father, a long time minister came in with a smile on his face, and calmly sat down to read the paper.
Knowing their father was against what had happened, they were surprised at his calm demeanor. “Pop,. didn’t you see what happend? Aren’t you upset?” The father put down his paper,looked over the top of his glasses at his sons and said “Boys, I want you to remember something. Jesus is still on the throne.”
It wasn’t that the father was a defeatist or didn’t care about what had happened. It’s just that once the smoke cleared, he knew he had a choice. And he decided to go with the sure thing. No matter what happens, Jesus is still on the throne. His kingdom will not fail. All will one day be made right and be redeemed.
As we as a denomination head to General Conference, have our Annual Conference in a few weeks, go to our local church I wonder if a focus on the sure thing might benefit us all. A simple reminder that no matter what happens Jesus still sits on the throne. It doesn’t mean we don’t care or work hard to live out our mission. But in the end, we simply remember that Jesus is still on the throne and will bring about the fullness of His Kingdom. Whether we are in line with that Kingdom is an argument for another day. But HIs KIngdom will be fulfilled. Jesus is still on the throne. I know that thought keeps me from a lot of doom and gloom, and hopefully makes me more loving to those with whom I disagree.
It works in our homes as well. No matter what happens at work, with your health or relationships, Jesus is still on the throne. No matter what unexpected curve life might throw at us, Jesus is still on the throne.
You know, I think I’ll hold onto the sure thing. And that’s no gamble at all.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones