Thursday, January 15, 2009
...In the Proper Perspective
"He was given a medal for "humility" and when he began to wear it on his lapel..they took it away from him." (read someplace that escapes me at the moment) The question of the day: Can humility and a competitive spirit co-exist?
We older folk remember Muhammad Ali and his " I am the greatest" rants from the 1960’s and 70’s concerning his boxing prowess and old man Bobby Riggs (55 yrs old) of tennis infamy with his "even an old man like me, with one foot in the grave, could beat any woman player alive" ..... statement of 1973. Then again you don’t have to be too old to remember the football players who used to dance in the end zone after some spectacular..or even after an extremely mediocre play in professional football. Eventually these rants in pro-football were outlawed and humility became the law of the gridiron. A law even today too frequently broken into many pieces!
Recently I have had the joy of watching one of my granddaughters play on her 4th grade volleyball team, the "Cougars". The kids all strive to play at their very best and if they win...fine..if they lose..fine. After each set of games the kids line up and "slap five" with the opponent just played and life ... well, life goes on. At this point in the life of a kid it’s just playin’ for the fun of it. You could actually ask many of the kids after the game who won and they couldn’t tell you..or they’d have to think about it for a moment. It’s not important! There is a child-like quality to be emulated that we see in our children at this age. They may just be, unwittingly...or even wittingly, keeping it all in the proper perspective.
Al Davis is the one credited with the mantra, "just win, baby"...and I understand that this is the noble goal of the professional teams that pay the big bucks for the very best athletes....and winning isn’t everything..It’s the only thing! (Vince Lombardi) But....in the Kingdom of God things are reversed. Whoever humbles himself like a little child...this one is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Terrell Owens and the rest of us may have a hard time with that one. And...he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Can humility and competitive spirit co-exist? Absolutely! Ecclesiastes tells us.."whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do with (all) thy might.." (9:10) Should I hold back in work, or play, or sport? Absolutely not! The only question remains.."for whom and why are you doin’ it?" "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord" (Col 3:23)
The Hallmark motto as we all know states..."When you care enough to send the very best..."
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2 Message Bible) Put in 17th century Westminster Confession of Faith language this hallmark question asks.."What is the chief end of man? And the answer: "To glorify God and enjoy him forever." This is the Christian work ethic..in a sentence. Whether at work, at play, in sports, relationships...whatsoever you do..do it heartily as unto the Lord! Am I glorifying Him with the talents and gifts He has given to me? That question alone should be enough to help keep a competitive spirit "...in the proper perspective."