I read a lot of sports writing, and one of the themes that I love to read about is the athlete who has a “chip on the shoulder”. Maybe he grew up from a disadvantaged background, or didn’t meet expectations, or was just different. Basically, he’s a man who has doubters that don’t believe in his ability.
I think we all have a chip on our own shoulders, in some form or another. It means that we’re a person with something to prove, we’re going to work hard to get it off our shoulder, and prove some people all wrong.
My chip? In college in went something like: “Yeah I’m pre-med. I’m kind of awkward. I love Jesus… You all are grade obsessed so I’m just going to go be a better doctor than you.”
In the end, getting the chip off your shoulder is going to feel pretty good when you’ve proved the haters wrong and are successful.
I think about Jesus and how he handled all his “haters”. And Jesus had a lot to prove on earth. He said he was the son of God.
The gospels are filled with stories about people doubting Jesus and who he was. It’s pretty interesting to dive in and read Jesus’ interactions with the disciples, the political leaders, the sick, the rich, the poor, the Pharisees… They all wanted Jesus to prove himself.
Jesus is weird. One day I’ll get excited after reading a story about him using his powers and healing the sick right in front of the religious leaders of the time and hitting the Pharisees with a quick witted comeback. “Yes! What an awesome way to prove yourself! Just show your powers and make the religious leaders look like idiots at the same time!”
Then the next day I’ll be confused and read a story about him on purposely holding back his powers or even worse, not even defending himself verbally while being mocked in front of a huge crowd of people. “Dude what are you doing? Why won’t you do anything to prove yourself in the most critical time?”
I think that success in this world is a bit of a paradox, meaning that the more successful we become, the more achievements we obtain for ourselves, the older we get in the blessing of another day, the more we are expected to humble ourselves in the midst of our trophies and use our newfound position to serve others. This idea is pretty biblical.
You get a job? Well, it’s time to work and serve your boss and your the people in your field. You get married? Well, it’s time to serve your spouse. You get a family? Well, it’s time to feed the kids and raise them into men and women.
Often times we get so caught up in proving people wrong and gaining success for ourselves, like a 4.0 GPA, or a top med school, or making a lot of money, that we forget what we’re supposed to do with it if we do get those things. I think some people fall into the trap of yearning for bigger and better and more prestigious achievements because they get caught up in the thrill of success and are reluctant to engage in the “dirty work” of what success brings.
Jesus, the ultimate ruler of all things, had all the money, status, power, and whatever he wanted, the ultimate success story that we will ever know, when confronted at a time to prove himself to the doubters, ultimately chose to die on the cross and serve people who didn’t deserve his beneficent service.
The chip on the shoulder was a cross on his back.