I love it when news stories image God.
This week the richest man in Russia bought DNA co-discoverer Dr. James Watson’s 1962 Nobel Prize medal at auction for 4.76 million dollars. And then he gave it back. He didn’t think it was right for such an outstanding scientist to sell his prize in order to donate the proceeds to charity.
What a wonderful story. How amazing that a person would respect and honor another person to this extent. First Dr. Watson is willing to give up a bit of his glory for the sake of helping others and then someone on the other side of the world, seeing this selfless act, chooses to give that glory back.
It reminded me of the triune love that flows between Father, Son and Holy Spirit and how that love plays out through the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The Son willingly laying down his life and the Father rightly giving it back. Jesus making a selfless and costly decision, and his Father, while honoring that choice, planning a brilliant rejoinder – a resurrection!
Russian entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov tried to contact Dr. Watson when he heard about the plans for an auction. He wanted to save the scientist the pain of giving up his medal by offering him a cash gift instead. But Dr. Watson insisted that the auction go ahead anyway – in part to restore his good name. In 2007 he made a regrettable racist remark and has been ostracized by society ever since. He hoped that this medal-auctioning act could bring some redemption. I suppose that Dr. Watson knew, deep inside, that a sacrifice had to be a part of the redemption process.
Knowing that the auction would still go ahead, Usmanov came up with an alternative plan.
And a most beautiful parable of redemption was spoken!
Through the willing sacrifice of a humbled scientist and the just heart of a Russian philanthropist we catch a glimpse of a God who, while he knows that sin can’t be tolerated and that sometimes a price must be paid, also has a much bigger and much more beautiful redemptive plan in mind.
I hope that Dr. Watson was able to hear what was said through this week’s encouraging series of events. God’s repatriating, redeeming love imaged by a billionaire Russian businessman from a former cold war enemy state, saying, “You’re forgiven. You don’t have to be an outcast any more. Welcome back.”
Whether or not the scientific community comes to the same conclusion, it’s nice to know that someone has a bigger and more gracious view.