I admit it; I’m a sore loser. That’s probably why I never enjoyed competitive sports as a kid. I don’t like being on a losing team.
As an adult, I do my best to stay clear of competitive games, yet I recognize I’m still a pretty competitive guy. I might not be competitive on the sports field, but I am in other areas.
I’ve served as a Music Minister for over thirty years and for much of that time my competitive nature would show up when comparing the number of singers in my choir or ranks in my pipe organ with the church across town. As a Baptist, I also found myself comparing my church’s Sunday school enrollment and annual baptisms. Maybe it was not so much competition as it was comparison and envy.
As a 55-year-old-man, I have found myself contemplating a lot about my life, wondering if I’ve achieved any of the things I dreamed about as a younger man. But when I do this, I run the risk of falling into this competitive-slash-comparison-slash-envy mode and end up in a pit of despair. I haven’t achieved many of those dreams from my youth. I’m not in a mega-church leading a mega-choir on a mega-tour promoting our mega-hit album. I’m not working for the world’s largest and fastest growing church or denomination. I haven’t published the great American novel or even a short story for that matter. Heck, I don’t even have my house paid off. Actually, I don’t even have a house at the moment. Sally and I are presently renting an apartment just like we did when we first got married. So at face value, things are not looking exceptionally swell.
But then I remember the teachings of Jesus. He’s the one who said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and “For he who is least among you all, he is the greatest.” I also remember the story of Gideon when God trimmed his army down from 32,000 to a measly 300 soldiers and led them to victory over the Midianites.
The Kingdom of God is upside-down, or perhaps better said, down-side up. I might be leading fewer people with fewer resources, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m on a losing team. But then again, it might. Bottom line, it’s not my job to compete with other churches in an attempt to enlarge my numbers so I can feel like a winner. It’s my job to prayerfully discern if I’m losing because of disobedience or neglect and need to repent OR because God is just trimming the fat or simply burning off the dross so He can show off His glory.
If you are finding yourself feeling like a loser, take heart, God can do great things in the midst of your loss and brokenness. I’m praying for God to do that in my life and I pray He will do it for you as well.