Are You Jerry MaGuire or Rod Tidwell?

Posted: January 31, 2012 by jperritt in Comedy, Drama
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jerry MaGuire is, by far, my favorite Cameron Crowe film and one of my all-time favorite films. Now, I must give the common disclaimer up front, Jerry MaGuire will not be a film everyone will enjoy. It has adult content and language that will be offensive to many, so approach this film with discernment if you plan to watch it.

Jerry MaGuire (Tom Cruise) follows the story of a sports agent who has an epiphany and decides to invest more time in fewer athletes. What this ultimately means is fewer clients and less money. More time for each individual athlete, but this would mean more clients going to other firms, which is why Jerry gets fired…oops, spoiler.

People applaud Jerry for his courage and honesty, yet all his co-workers and clients end up leaving him, except one Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.). Tidwell ends up being Jerry’s only client, and one that is very very demanding. One who wants Jerry to show him the cash (did you think I was going to say something else?). Tidwell is your stereotypical NFL player that is completely arrogant and self-focused, which forces Jerry to ask the question was my epiphany correct? Were his thoughts of investing more time in individuals worth it, especially when one of those individuals is Rod Tidwell?

Don’t get me wrong, Tidwell is charming and funny, but he is, nonetheless, annoying. And I would venture to say each of us have people in our lives like this. People that make us feel like we’re Jerry MaGuire. There are those people who are difficult to love and we feel that we sacrifice so much for them. Friends, co-workers, children, spouse, etc.

At one point during the film, Jerry reaches his limit and exclaims what it is like to serve the almighty Tidwell:

I am out here for you. You don’t know what it’s like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok?

Jerry has been constantly serving Tidwell, feeding his ego, telling him he’s the best, fighting for him to stay on teams, to get more money, and Tidwell has been fairly ungrateful about it. Not only that, but Jerry isn’t even getting paid to serve in this capacity. He is hardly able to provide for himself while he is constantly listening to his only client’s constant bickering.

The truth is, Jerry MaGuire gives us a small glimpse at our Almighty God, except God does it with love and patience. God is constantly serving, always providing, long-suffering, displaying limitless love and sustaining us on this earth. Yet, we are Rod Tidwell. We feel entitlement. We feel that God owes us more. We complain, we worry, we show discontentment, we are unsatisfied, which all show that we are unappreciative of God and we doubt his provision.

I think of Paul’s charge to do all things without grumbling or disputing (Phil. 2:14) and because Paul doesn’t just state imperatives without indicatives, this command comes on the heels of one of the greatest displays of humility in Scripture (vs. 5-11). Those verses describe, in excellent beauty, what Christ did for those he loved. He left his throne, took on flesh, and in all humility died for an ungrateful bunch of arrogant, unappreciative, complaining Rod Tidwells; i.e., you and me.

You see, God’s job is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that he will never fully disclose and we will never fully grasp, because he loves us. Jerry MaGuire’s love and patience ran out on Rod Tidwell (who can blame him). But our God is a long-suffering God whose love has no limit.

I am not saying that God just overlooks our whining, complaining, arrogant, ungrateful, discontent lives that we live – he doesn’t like that. The reason he can love us is because His beautiful Son lived a life that was absent of whining, complaining and arrogance, so that we are now seen as living that same life. Not because WE did it, but because HE did it and credits that to us by faith.

So the next time you start to whine, complain, worry, etc. be humbled by the example of our Savior that Paul points us to in Philippians. Jesus Christ, who had every reason to whine and complain, refrained because he loved to do the will of his Father and he joyfully offered his life to redeem an arrogant Rod Tidwell, like you and me.

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