Friday, October 14, 2016

Commpeting With Others

Remember this story I shared with you a couple of years ago?

The local newspaper carried the story last week.  On the sports page, the headlines introduced a local golfer who made a hole in one at a nearby golf resort. I usually read stories about great sports accomplishments. I have never made a hole in one, and to add to that, was never very good at the game of golf. So I began reading about this man, as he was playing with some others, aced the hole, giving him bragging rights over everyone else in his foursome. This wasn't his first hole in one, but it's the most recent so he will be telling tales about that golf shot to anyone who will listen.   But there's more. 

The very next day, this same man was playing golf with his wife and another couple.  I can imagine as they approached the hole he had aced the day before, he had flashbacks of his great ability to put the tiny ball in the hole in one shot.  But the glory was short lived. On this day, it was his wife that made a hole in one on the same green her husband had made his memorable shot 24 hours earlier. 

Holes in one are a great accomplishment to any golfer, however if you consider all the golf courses in our land, and the massive number of people swinging clubs, stories of a hole in one are somewhat common.  I know the man was happy for his wife, excited that she had gained some of the same bragging rights that he enjoyed. His comment (with a smile) to the sports reporter was something like, "she just can't stand it when I am in the spotlight."  Now I am smiling too, but also anxious to learn if that has happened before. You can spend the time on Google and let me know if there has ever been another husband shoot a hole in one, and the following day, his wife getting a hole in one on the same hole.

We do live in a competitive world. It is especially noted in sports of every kind, but also in the workplace, in our schools, and even in our homes. This is where I must say there is nothing wrong with a little competition, because it does bring our best efforts in whatever we are trying to accomplish. The danger comes when our competitiveness is motivated by selfish pride, hoping that we will receive praise and glory for our great accomplishments. That kind of motivation can destroy us. 

The apostle Paul was one who wrote about competition. He even said at one time that he had worked harder for the cause of Christ than any of the other apostles. Some might call him a braggart or a glory seeker, but the claim of Paul was true, and it wasn't motivated by misplaced pride. It was motivated by his desire to accomplish great things in the work of God, always insisting that God would be glorified in his efforts. 

How terrible when the task of the church is stymied through the pride and ego of its members trying to out-do each other to receive the loudest praise.  Likewise, how wonderful it is when our focus is on God and we are working as a body to spread the gospel story, feed the poor, visit the sick, pray for the outcast, and any other opportunity we might have, to bring all praise and glory to Him.  Another statement from Paul fits in here, "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"  1 Corinthians 15:57. Grasp that truth.  The victory is God's, but he gives it to us. 


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