Winning or Losing?

Blake Henry – Student Life Group Pastor, Mesa Campus

As much as I hate to admit it I am a very competitive person.  Not only am I a competitive person, I am also a selfish person. Now granted, this is not what you would expect to hear from a pastor– especially on his first blog post at the church where he was just hired– but I am going to be vulnerable with you guys and share some of my struggles with you.

Now when I say I am a competitive person, I mean that there was a time in my life when I made Michael Jordan look like someone who didn’t care about winning at all. If you know anything about sports (or Michael Jordan for that matter), most people in the world of professional sports say Jordan is basically the most competitive person that they have ever been around. When he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame he was over the age of 50 and still claiming that he could play and win in the NBA.  That is just insane to think that someone would actually think they could do that against people half his age.

And yet, here I am thinking those same kinds of thoughts all the time.  No, I don’t same them aloud. Everyone knows that is not the polite, “christian” thing to do. But I still have those thoughts. I want to win and be the best at whatever I am doing– whether that is playing a game of SORRY! (favorite board game by the way), teaching, or writing a blog post for that matter.

Now we live in a society where it is all about winning and taking care of yourself.  So some people might be thinking right now, Duh,Blake! If you don’t care about winning, taking care of yourself, or being the “Rockstar” you will never move up in your career. You will just get walked all over!

But Jesus has been changing my idea of winning and losing.

I have come to see that following Jesus, in many circumstances, may actually look like “losing” in our world.  Sound, weird? Lets just take a minute and look at the most victorious moment in the history of creation where Jesus literally defeats sin, death, and the enemy: the Cross.  This is a moment where it looks like all is lost. Jesus does not look like he is winning by any means.  It is so bad that all of his students and friends leave him. Yet this is the moment we see in scripture that Jesus triumphs:

Colossians 2:15 – “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

So maybe, just maybe, the moments where it looks like I am actually losing (like when I put other peoples needs above my own) is when I am actually winning. When I start to speak up for the people on the outside and it might cost me my reputation, maybe that is when I am winning. When it seems like people might want to stone me or put me on a cross because I have decided to be so outrageously loving to people who look like they don’t deserve it, those might be the biggest wins of my life. On the contrary, moments where it looks like I am winning– by being better than others or putting my needs first– might mean I am actually losing. The moments where I am selfish and don’t want other people to disrupt my own personal time (which I value a lot), might actually be losses for the kingdom.

So what about you? How do you think about winning or losing? Is it the way our society does: being selfish and looking out for number one?  Or do you think of winning the way that Jesus does, by killing off those voices in our head that say it is all about me and then putting others first even if it means losing everything?

Winning or Losing?

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