Thursday, May 21, 2015

Where Did You Come From, Where Did You Go

I stumbled across THIS interesting story about Manny Pacquiao this week.

Maybe you heard about the Fight of the Century on 2 May between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. This fight sold a record 4.4 million pay-per-view packages, at the record price of $90-$100 per view. In all, the fight's revenue was over $500 million. Of that amount Mayweather receives 60% and Pacquiao 40%.

According to the LA Times the previous revenue record was "the 2007 Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya bout [which] generated a prior-record 2.5 million buys, and Mayweather’s 2013 victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez established a record $150 million in pay-per-view sales."

Floyd Mayweather won the fight in a unanimous points decision.

Mayweather's payday for this single fight surpassed the previous record of athlete earnings in A YEAR! That was Tiger Woods, who in 2008 earned $125 million. Even Pacquiao's smaller share of a $500 million purse would surpass Tiger's previous annual income record.

In the shadow of these huge dollar amounts, the story I link to at the start provides great perspective. I'm not sure how precise the journalism is, but I presume the core elements of the story are factual.

Shortly after losing his bout on 2 May, Manny Pacquiao slipped away to visit St Jude's Ranch for Children outside Las Vegas. There, in the middle of night, he unloaded boxes of boxing equipment and conducted an impromptu coaching session.

Although a superstar in the boxing world, Pacquiao apparently visits this children's ranch each time he's in Las Vegas.

The story contains this important quote,
"In 1995, before my first big professional fight, my close friend Eugene Barutag was also an up-and-coming boxer. He said, ‘Manny, don’t you ever forget where you came from. If you forget that, it doesn’t matter how much you win. If you lose where you come from, you lose it all.’"
Pacquiao was raised in poverty in the Philippines, so his actions described in this story certainly indicate that he hasn't forgotten his roots.

This past week I was also challenged to consider my past, but in a different context than Manny. I suspect that for those of us raised in the church, very few of us maintain exactly the same beliefs as our parents, or home congregation. Over time we have different experiences to our parents' generation. Culture changes. We come to see the world differently, and that influences the way we read and/or apply Scripture to our lives and society.

It's often tempting to look at people who live at a different point on the theological spectrum through a fog of superiority. Sometimes I see mature Christians adopt this attitude toward younger Christians. Often I see more liberal or progressive Christians peer down their (our) noses at more conservative Christians. And of course fundamentalist Christians can mock liberals for their complete disrespect of Scripture.

What convicted me was the recognition that I'm often tempted to dismiss people today who are at the same place in their relationship with God that I was 10, 15 or 20 years ago. I'm grateful to the people in my life who didn't dismiss my views as rudimentary or uneducated.

I think that it's easy for me to see myself on a spiritual growth continuum, and give myself grace. It's also easy for me to view others as having their beliefs and behaviours set in concrete at their current point with no prospect of growth.

I need to remind myself, "Where did you come from? Where did you go?" And I need to give others the same grace given me: room for them to grow.

I can learn from Manny Pacquiao. It's easy give grace when I'm feeling good and undefeated. It's much more difficult to show that same grace, even as I struggle with loss and hurt in my own life.
Because of the grace that God gave me, I can say to each one of you: don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead, be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you. (Romans 12:3 CEB)

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