Thursday, August 14, 2008

Winning and Losing

So, we're all watching the Olympics, right?

Have you noticed this rush of nationalism running through your body. All of a sudden you actually care that someone from the USA wins the men's synchronized diving competition or that we don't get edged out on a medal in bmx unicycling or that our underwater bocci ball squad prevails despite the big waves. Interesting.

We start to care about things we really don't usually have much interest in. We begin to think that somehow or another this next medal means something really important.

What if we lost every medal, failed to compete well in any competiton ...and people laughed at us. What would that mean? Would we cease to exist as a nation? Would our national psyche be damaged beyond repair? Would sales of red, white, and blue anything plummet?

I'm as competitive as the next person. Love to win. Love to compete. Don't like to lose. Is this what it's all about ...a national collective experience of winning and losing? Does it really say anything about who we are as a country?

Don't get me wrong. I hope our teams do really well. There is something really fun in kicking back and rooting for the home team. I think the highs and lows of sport make life more interesting.

But there's other things, other races, other competitions that mean far more ...

Too many kids get a crummy education. I bet we can win that fight.
People die all over the world from starvation. Wouldn't it be fun to compete over who can best solve that problem?
For lack of a $10 mosquito net kids get malaria. On your mark, get set, go ...get your check book out.
Human trafficking is too real. Only losers in this one.
What about sub-standard housing? Who's going to win the race to solve this problem?

Nothing wrong with the Olympics. It's a nice breath of fresh air.

As Christians we're taught to keep our eyes on the prize, to run the good race. What if we asked God for the grace necessary to become champions for the underresourced, the hurting? What if we asked God for the courage to get off the couch and compete for those who can't run and speak for themselves? What if we won gold medals, encouraging and challenging each other to use our giftedness to solve some big problems?

The world might change. For sure, we would.

Talented people spend too much time trying to do it all and get it all. What if we spent our time differently? What if we choose to lose the American Dream and instead choose to gain God's perspective? That would be worth watching.

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