The 17th episode of the first season of Friends is The One With All the Poker, and it contains a heartfelt moment in which Ross exhibits living as Jesus lived…
At the opening of the episode, the friends are whistling as they work at stuffing resumes into envelopes for Rachel. She is sick of being a waitress and wants to begin her career. She gets many, many rejections but lands an interview with Saks Fifth Avenue for a position as Assistant Buyer.
Rachel: Oh! I got an interview! I got an interview!
Monica: You’re kidding! Where? Where?
Rachel: Saks Fifth Avenue!
Monica: Oh, Rachel!
Phoebe: Oh, it’s like the mothership is calling you home!
Meanwhile, the guys have invited the girls into their poker group. And the girls are not doing too well. They call in help from Monica’s aunt, who whips them into shape. During their third match, Rachel is actually beginning to win—and feeling very good about it—when a call comes; though she had a great interview, she didn’t get the job. The friends offer to stop playing, but Rachel insists they continue. She throws in a high amount. Everyone folds, but when Ross tries to fold she taunts him back in. He sees her ever higher and higher wagers….
Ross: (to Rachel): Okay, I am calling your seventeen. What do you got?
Rachel: (lays down cards) Full house.
Ross: (pause, puts cards face down) You got me.
(Monica and Phoebe celebrate. Rachel, shocked, joins them.)
Joey: (to Ross): Ahhh, that’s alright. Y’know, that’s a tough hand to beat.
Chandler: (to Ross): I thought we had them!
Ross: Oh, well, when you don’t have the cards, you don’t have the cards, you know. (looks at Rachel) But, look how happy she is.
Chandler and Joey realize that Ross may have just let Rachel win and dive for his cards. Ross dives to stop them from seeing them.
How did Ross follow in Jesus’s footsteps?
He loved his friend, Rachel, enough to put her before himself—to serve her. She had been extremely snooty to him. She even referred to him as “Loser” when she was winning. But when he saw her pain at hearing she hadn’t gotten the position she wanted at Saks, he set aside any competitive feelings he had and decided he would rather lift her up than lift himself up.
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. ~ John 13:12-15 ESV
Don’t live to serve yourself, be a friend like Ross, like Jesus. Serve others, and enjoy their joy. In short, love people as Christ loved us, dying for those who didn’t even know him so that they (we) may live.