It is very interesting to look at our society today especially in the sports world. There was a story this past week about a 7 year old girl, Anna Kimball, from Allen, TX who was asked to not play this season on her brother’s baseball team. The reason wasn’t just because she is a girl but the head coach wanted to take his team to a more competitive league that didn’t let girls play. So the question I have is, are we more about wining and competiveness in this world than we are about commitment. Are we all about winning on the court, on the field, in the work force, and in life itself? Don’t take me wrong I like to win and want my team to win as much as the next guy. I’m a Kansas Jayhawk fan and love to watch them win and hate when they lose. We are starting to teach our children at a young age that life is all about winning, scouring the last touchdown, scoring the last point, making the last run and getting the blue ribbon on our science project at school.
It is sad that this young girl who the coach says is a better player than her brother can’t play because to this new league he is now deciding to join doesn’t allow girls. Yahoo Sports blogger Cameron Smith wrote, “Yes, that’s right: Apparently gender discrimination now starts at the age of 7 in the DFW metroplex. The coach’s reasoning for the decision to exclude Anna Kimball from his squad was driven by his desire to move the team into a “more competitive” league for the 2012 or 2013 season, with that future league refusing to allow girls to play with boys. In addition to Anna, one other girl and other boys that had played on the team are reportedly being cut to make the team more competitive.” My son is dealing with this same thing right now on a 4th grade basketball team. They were undefeated all season and last weekend they lost their first game to a team they have always beat. One player quit the team because of personal reasons. He was a good player and now since they lost he was asked to come back and play. What does that say to my son who started the last two games while this kid was gone and to the other players on this team? He was asked to come back right before the tournament this weekend, so that he can help us bring home the winning trophy,
To be more competitive and to bring home the winning trophy is that where we are heading in our world. The old saying goes, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game,” is now a saying from the past that people don’t live by anymore. Shouldn’t we be more about commitment, dedication, perseverance, doing our best, fighting the good fight and focusing on the finish line. God’s word is full of statements about the first being the last, and if you want to be great you must first be a servant. “
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:31
”It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
Jesus was the greatest example for us about serving others; he took off his outer garment and washed his disciple’s feet. The Messiah, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Chosen One and the Son of God washed dirty feet. That was no place for the teacher, for the master to wash stinky dirty feet; it was the place for the servant, the slave. It was the servant’s job to wash the feet of those who attended the banquet feast. This day Jesus showed us something that was more about being competitive and winning, he taught us how we should treat others and what type of lives we should live. We are supposed to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love our neighbor as our self, love our enemies and pray for them, forget what lies behind and strain towards what is ahead and keep our eyes on the finishing line.
We need to understand that we are called to die, to give up our self, to live like him and to work out it with all of our heart. Colossians 3:17, Paul writes, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Is that what we should be teaching our kids, whatever we do in our actions and speech, we do it in the name of Jesus and glorify God. Justin Simmons, a young man from Stuart, FL, who will be playing Free Safety for the Boston College Eagles in the fall taught me something. “Winning is great but so is losing because God is glorified in either way.” This young man has a great story that I will be sharing with you soon. Is being committed and not quitting more important than winning the super bowl, hitting the last shot to win the game, to hit the homerun in the last inning, to get that blue ribbon on a science project and getting that gold medal at the Olympics?
I think it is great we train, and we work hard to win the game. The game I want to win is life itself. I want to win that prize that is in store for me in heaven. The way to do is to lose, lose my life, and give up winning and focusing on the cross. Read what Paul wrote to the Philip Church in Philippians 3.
“ If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law,[c] blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Can we have this same attitude about winning in this world? Can we teach our children that knowing God is more important than winning a basketball tournament? Can we teach our friends that winning is about losing? Are we ready to press on to the goal of heaven where Jesus has prepared a place for us? I hope Anna Kimball sees that she is very important even if she can’t play on her brothers little league baseball team and proves the coach wrong. Let us not be so competitive but more committed in our world today. Let us run with perseverance and keep our eyes focused on the finish line.