top of page

Pastor Glenn McDonald: Rekindling the Fire

On Super Bowl Sunday 1999, a start-up company rolled the dice on a 30-second commercial.

                                                                                                                               , an internet site dedicated to connecting job-seekers with new jobs, hadn’t yet run a single advertisement.  Those 30 seconds cost a whopping $1.6 million (which nevertheless sounds like a bargain compared to this Sunday’s half-minute price tag of $7 million). 


They hit pay dirt.  Monster’s simple, black-and-white debut commercial is widely regarded as one of the 10 best Super Bowl ads of all time.


It features the confident faces of children describing their vocational dreams:


“When I grow up, I want to file all day.” 

“I want to climb my way up to middle management.”

“Be replaced on a whim.”

“I want to be a Yes Man.”

“Yes Woman.” 

“Yes sir, coming sir, anything for a raise, sir.”

“When I grow up, I want to be underappreciated.”

“Paid less for doing the same job.”


Why was this ad so effective?


It closed with this poignant question: What did you want to be? recognized that none of us grew up dreaming of mediocrity.  We yearned to be astronauts, Olympic gymnasts, fighter pilots, quarterbacks, surgeons, or scientists.


Winding up somewhere in the middle of the pack is not the difference-making life we imagined. 


But all too often we have settled for the Next Best Thing.  Or something far less.


It’s equally disheartening that God’s master plan to heal this shattered world – the life-transforming Good News of Jesus – has also been reduced to something small and uninspiring.


For far too many people, the message of the church sounds like this: Just be a nice person.


Fortunately, that’s not what Mary thought her child’s birth would be all about.


Mary’s Song (traditionally called the Magnificat), which appears in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, is a poetic tour de force.  She proclaims that the arrival of her son will initiate the Great Reversal in human society. It’s recited in what linguists call the “historic present” – meaning that Jesus’ accomplishments, which are all in the future, are reported as if they have already happened. 


“His mercy flows in wave after wave

    on those who are in awe before him.

He bared his arm and showed his strength,

    scattered the bluffing braggarts.

He knocked tyrants off their high horses,

    pulled victims out of the mud.

The starving poor sat down to a banquet;

    the callous rich were left out in the cold.

He embraced his chosen child, Israel;

    he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.

It’s exactly what he promised,

    beginning with Abraham and right up to now”

(Luke 1:49-55, The Message)


Mary dreams the dream, in other words, of a world turned upside-down.  It’s not a small dream.  It will take all of her courage and all of God’s power to make it happen through this child who is coming into the world. 


But she refuses to settle for anything less.  And neither should we.


What did you want to be, when you first met Christ?


Did you used to picture being part of something larger than yourself, something that would require the fullest expression of your gifts and your boldest ever steps beyond your comfort zone?


It’s not too late.


Ask God to light that fire again.



Would you like to explore previous reflections, and learn more about this ministry?  Check out

9 views0 comments


bottom of page