Tag Archives: competition

Competition

  • Leviticus 22:17-23:44
  • Mark 9:30-10:12
  • Psalm 44:1-8
  • Proverbs 10:19

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35

We sure have a competition issue in this world, don’t we? Everyone wants to be bigger, better, greater, stronger, prettier, more popular than the “other” person. This is a strange dilemma though, because I personally, don’t believe in participation trophies. It is my opinion that in every competition, there is a winner and a loser. You either get the job or you don’t. You either get first place, or you don’t. You either close the sale or you don’t. You either take that first step out the door in the morning, or you don’t.

A couple of weeks ago we were playing Candy Land with our 4 year old grandson. The first game we played, “Papa” won. Boyyyy did that make my grandson angry! He stomped off and cried. When he got done with his little fit, we explained to him that in every game, there’s a winner and a loser. I am forever grateful that the next game, my grandson won, (whew!!) and the illustration was complete, hat we just have to try again, and next time it may be our turn to win. We just gotta get back up and try again. (yes gotta is a word;)

They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.”

Mark 9:33-34

So, how do we make sense of my earthly brilliance in “there’s a winner and there’s a loser” and also make sense of “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all?

The disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who was Jesus’ best friend, who was being the most selfless and likely who had sacrificed more than the other, and who DESERVED to sit next to King Jesus. They didn’t understand the ultimate sacrifice that was about to come via Christ our Lord. And ya know what….Jesus DID know what they were arguing about already. He’d read the Pharisees and crowd pretty darn well so far, he was testing his buddies to see if they could be honest with him, and ultimately themselves. He was asking them to question themselves about what they actually “deserve” and if they were willing to work for it and stick with him.

So listen, lets talk about this competition thing. I don’t think that Jesus meant that we have to give in and give up in competitions. Paul in the Book of Corinthians says:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it a slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

So really, its about disciplining ourselves to the training is where the competition is effective. Not against other people. To others we are to serve.

Serve like my cousin friend Mary served me today. She kindly commented on this post with the deep wisdom of a woman who knows the harsh realities and beauty that comes from competition. I walked away from this blog post earlier, unfinished thinking I would get back to it later. “No one is reading them anyway,” I said to myself. Mary’s words today are an example of ultimate servanthood. I’ve seen her give selfless support to her family in times of severe stress, and ask for nothing in return. She comments and brags on family on every social media post. People like Mary are #goals for those of us who obsessively compete against themselves, and sadly, at times, others.

Father God, thank you for keeping my competitive spirit in check. Thank you that you teach me to discipline and compete with servanthood. Lord, teach me what that means every single day, because like someone said, I’m just a “C+ student” in a world of A+ family and friend examples. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would minister to them and help them stay encouraged, yet humble, strong, yet weak. Lord guide all of us to serve others through this life.

What goals and dreams are you striving toward?

How have you been ministered to recently?

How can you minister to another human today?

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