Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Competition Revisited

I’ve had some good discussions about competition with friends over the last few weeks and I’ve come to realize that many people confuse competition with participation. People might say, “Yes, OK we’re not supposed to try and put ourselves above other people, but what about just having fun… or doing your best… or trying your hardest… or getting some exercise… etc.”

To participate is not the same as to compete. For example, if I take a friend canoeing, we have to work together to have a successful trip. We accomplish a mutual goal. If we were to enter a canoe race, now we have entered the realm of self-promotion.

I should mention that a few weeks ago prior to the Christy awards, my Bible study small group asked what they could pray for me about and, even though I wanted to ask that I would win, I remembered this discussion on the blog and said, “Pray that it wouldn't’ matter to me one way or the other.”

As it turns out, I didn’t win and the prayer worked--mostly. I still wanted to win, but found more peace with it than I would have.

So on closing, here are the two questions I’ve been asking myself:

1) Why do I desire first place?
2) Does the desire to place myself above another person (in honor or position) promote humility?


Doc Op said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc Op said...

OOps, typo correction

It seems odd to me to pray "that it wouldn't matter to me one way or another." Why not pray: "God help me respond correctly to the vote, with humility and thankfulness should I win, with grace and thankfulness should I not."

To not care if you win or loose would suggest the honor didn't mean much in the first place, which in turn devalues the very honor they would bestow. I think that that attitude lowers the the value of the person or group giving the award.

I guess there could be a sinful attitude here, but it matters to me where the compliment or "award" comes from. As our estimation of the rewarder goes up (Christy, Pulitzer, friends, mom ... God) it seems that we will care more about what they value. To not care much about their thoughts - in any direction - means we don't really think much about what they value.

So... while a "Christy" would be nice, better yet... "Well done good and faithful servant."

Anonymous said...

Two scriptures come to mind regarding this topic. I Cor. 9:24 (NIV) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Of course this is talking about our Christian walk, but it sure sounds like we are to do our best so that we are at least in the competition.

However, Hebrews 12:1 puts it in perspective – for me at least. Again NIV: “… and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I have to run the race marked out for me. Verse 2 says I’m to fix my eyes on Jesus. I’m not to be looking around at all the other runners, comparing my stride to theirs or being jealous that their track is all downhill while mine leads me through the swamp. I become competitive and desire first place when I begin to focus on somebody else’s race. If I can remember that, win or lose, I’m running the race marked out for me, I’m not as likely to get caught up in the competition itself. I’m called to run, not win. And if I run well, that’s what matters.

-- Carol

Anonymous said...

Here is my thought even though the blog is from the summer. If you ask little children why they play games they will tell you that they do it becuase it is fun. Somewhere as they grow up they learn that playing games is about almost just about winning and losing. In my brief teaching career I beleive this mindset changes about 1st or 2nd grade where winning becomes more importatn then playing and then that is when beast of sin can take over the simplest games. I remind my students that they jsut got doen playing a game thats it. They didin't win large amounts of money, they are not going to be rembered in the hall of the recess hall of fame nor has it help thim gain salvation in any way. May Christian coaches and parents continue to teach children about proper Christian attitudes in all they do!!!