The names Stink and Big Al may be unfamiliar to you, but they are two of the most well-known voices in Denver sports radio.
Stink (Mark Schlereth) and Big Al (Alfred Williams) both starred for the Denver Broncos and have made a new career talking about it. Sports talk radio (like most entertainment) is built on intriguing conflict. My friend Scott Downing recently told me about an interesting fight between Big Al and Stink on the airwaves (paraphrase):
Stink: It’s sad that some Broncos are so concerned about their own career they won’t come alongside younger players who need help.
Big Al: I never helped rookies. No way.
Stink: What?!? Why not?
Big Al: Rookies wanted my job, man. I’m not going to help my competition.
Stink: So you’d rather let the team suffer than help younger guys?
Big Al: My job is to be the best at my position, not help someone else take my place. This is a business. They can pay younger guys millions of dollars less and make me expendable. You would help them?
Big Al: That’s how veterans get cut and find themselves out of work.
First Half vs. Second Half
Richard Rohr describes First Half and Second Half of life mentalities.
First Half of life people primarily focus on achievement.
Second Half of life people primarily focus on loving people.
First Halfers believe ultimate worth is measured in success, titles and dollars.
Second Halfers believe ultimate worth is defined by their relationships.
It is possible to be a Second Halfer in the first half of life.
It is possible to be a First Halfer until the day you die.
Our culture celebrates the First Half. First Halfers make the news, win the awards, amass wealth and often… leave a wake of pain and broken relationships in their paths.
First Half thinking leads us to make decisions like Big Al’s.
Second Half thinkers live like Stink, willing to sacrifice First Half desires in service of others.
If you’re predicting the conclusion: be like Stink and not like Big Al, you’re only partially right.
First, I need to confess.
I’ve lived most of my life more like Big Al than Stink. I have often seen and treated people as tools to be used for my success. For those of you who know the enneagram, 3s (my number) live like Big Al but have learned to appear as if we are not. We are First Halfers camouflaged as Second Halfers.
I can't criticize Big Al. At least he’s honest.
Meanwhile, pity those in the wake of First Halfers, but pity First Halfers themselves. First Halfers don’t experience the richness of love God intends.
First Halfers are caught in a tragic paradox: Love is wanting the best for others, but First Halfers are driven to use others for themselves. First Halfers long for love but reflexively make other people pawns in the life they see as a game of chess. It can be as unconscious as breathing.
First Halfers are everywhere around us - I love you until you don’t do anything for me. Then I find my next pawn. And, of course, that's not love at all.
Jesus' Halftime Speech
Jesus once told an affluent First Halfer, “Go and sell everything you have and give to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.” (Luke 18:22)
Isn't this harsh?!
I disliked this passage for years until I realized the statement I perceived as an awful mandate (sell everything) in reality invites this young man to a completely new self-understanding.
Jesus essentially said, “Release the thing preventing you from seeing other people for their value as children of God. Release the thing preventing others from seeing you as a child of God. Then you will experience love with no strings attached. And, oh, by the way, I love you regardless of what you own so get rid of your fancy stuff creating your counterfeit identity and join me.”
Jesus’ words are a halftime, locker room speech to the Second Half. But the man walked away sad (v.23). The First Half grips our souls tightly with its golden handcuffs.
As for Jesus, he failed by First Half standards - a nobody from nowhere, unremarkable profession (carpentry), financially below-average, but no one loved like he did.
And get this: in mind-blowing irony, no human being has ever achieved more.
Will You Live the Second Half?
Regardless of your age, it’s possible to respond to Jesus' “Halftime Speech” and move to the Second Half.
Perhaps you will transition easily.
Questions like these kick my butt:
Can you love someone whose underperformance is reflecting poorly on you?
Can you put work aside and focus on your spouse and kids?
Who in your life, if honest, do you see as tool to be used rather than a child of God to be loved?
Is your relationship with your spouse primarily about your needs?
What about your friendships?
Are you a good listener?
Do you take joy in someone else’s success or harbor jealousy?
How much of your day is spent helping other people vs. advancing your own desires?
I'd love to hear which question(s) hits you at email@example.com. Your answers can help you discover in which Half you currently reside. Jesus’ answers to those questions are radically different than mine. I’m guessing yours too. Stink and Big Al would answer differently. I need more Stink.
Friends, the Holy Spirit has an incredible Second Half future for you. That can be you. That can be me. If you know a Second Halfer, you know they are beautiful people to be around. They move with grace, ease and joy.
I hope that can someday be said about me.
Thanks for reading! Please give a little love by clicking the heart if you benefited from this and pass along to someone you know. I'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.