I grew up with nonstop competition. I had a twin brother and we were naturally wanting to outdo the other, particularly on grades. We were placed in the same class all the way through 4th grade. That didn’t help. Beyond competing with my brother, there were always spelling bees, art contests, and trying to be exclusively at the top of my class. At home there was competition about who got the biggest piece of pie or who got the cookie with the most chocolate chips. Who out of my siblings get a window seat in the car. Me. Me. Me.
This has been a major motivator in our school systems, in the workplace, in sports, in every part of society. Who looks the prettiest? Who is the strongest? Who is the smartest? Who has the nicest car?
So, what about competition? I believe the Bible when it says to believers, “Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the RACE that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1)
So I AM in a race, and I do it with my heart, not just with my mind and body. The race is already won by Jesus, but we are still called to run it. I see it as the course for each individual life, the unique path laid out. There is no need to compare. The time it takes to run and the length of days is unknown. Living and learning can be slow.
Sports and competition in school is OK, but only to a point. When it includes boasting and pride, it is wrong. It is the way of the world and it just isn’t right, because, there is nothing any of us have that has not been given us by God. I heard this frequently during the Super Bowl. For the players, the Super Bowl doesn’t have to be all about winning the final game, although it is a worthy goal. For many of them, it is about recognizing where their talents come from and running with all their might to know Jesus and know him better in the process of the game. If they win, that is great. If they don’t let’s hope they know they did their personal best.
My 7 year old neighbor boy, who is like a grandson, asked who had more integrity? He wanted me to choose between him and his brother. I didn’t answer. I thought “What does anyone have that he or she has not not been given? If you have been given the opportunity to live with integrity, then be thankful and don’t compare yourself.” THAT is what I wanted to get across, but the words didn’t come. I think I was busy. The topic of being too busy is for another blog!