Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to "win"

I'm a sports fan...I admit it. I'm having a fun time keeping tabs on the NBA finals right now, usually catching the 4th quarter of the games. This finals matchup is very interesting because it pits two teams and two players against each other who both desperately need to win to "validate" their place in the game. Lebron James and Dirk Nowitzki are both great players who have never won and NBA title and both have received their fare share of criticism for their apparent failures.

Here's the interesting part, though; every game has been close, going down to the last few minutes. And yet following the game, the focus is ALWAYS on which of the players "failed" to perform good enough to lead his team. You get the distinct feeling that the media is already getting ready to "roast" whoever fails to win the title. The legacy of this finals won't be so much who won, but who lost, and in so doing failed. Apparently, in the world of the NBA, you either win it all, or you fail. The question I keep asking is this; is it possible to "win" while losing? 

Ultimately, the question I'm asking is "how should our success be measured?" I believe it should be measured by this question; what did you do with what God gave you? All the talents, gifts, resources that God has entrusted you; did you use them? For Him?

There are so many places in Scripture we see this principle at work;
- The widow's mite,
- The parable of the talents,
- The parable of the sewer,
- Jesus' words on "watchfulness" in Luke 12 (to whom much is given, much is expected...)
- Even the principle of tithing hints at this, (equal sacrifice...10%)

I think the "gold standard" Scripture verse on this principle is Colossians 3:23-24;

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

There are three big ideas or applications here;
1) It's not so much what you do, but what you do with what you've been given.
2) It's not so much what you do, but the spirit and motive with which you do it.
3) It's not so much what you do, but who you do it for.

Coming full circle; in sports, your success should be measured not by the result (did you win or lose), but by how you performed relative to what you have. Did you play as hard as you can? Did you prepare the best you could? Did you hold nothing back? If so, you "won."

And so it is in God's economy...

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