The headline caught my eye in today’s Obituary section of the Boston Globe: “Raymond Poulidor, beloved runner-up cyclist.”
We love winners. Once the confetti’s swept up, red carpet put away, banners taken down, few remember who came in second or won Miss Congeniality. The crown, gold medal or yellow jersey(Tour de France) go to the winner.
Today’s tribute written by Samuel Petrequin stated, “Raymond Pouidor competed in the grueling Tour de France fifteen times, finishing second 3 times and third 5 times.” He never came in first, yet the other phrase that captured my imagination was the nation of France, “adored him as a Magnificent Loser.”
This phrase made me wonder, “What does it mean to be a Magnificent Loser in our culture?”
What would my life look life if I, like Jim Elliot, “gave (or lost) what I couldn’t keep, to gain what I couldn’t lose“?
While puzzling, a story came to mind, one told by Jesus in Luke 21:1-4 in The Message:
“Just then he (Jesus) looked up and saw the rich people dropping offerings in the collection plate. Then he saw a poor widow put in two pennies. He said, ‘The plain truth is that this widow has given by far the largest offering today. All these others made offerings that they’ll never miss, she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford–she gave her all.’ ”
In the race we’re called to run, it’s about finishing.
God’s Hall of Faith’s filled with Magnificent Losers.
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