At a family dinner last week, I overheard one cousin ask another one
this, about her recent dance competition:
Was it one of those competitions where you competed? Like for 1st or
The conversation then proceeded as normal. She just wondered
whether it was a competition with prizes or one where “everyone wins” or one
where there are rankings when you’re done. I get that. But in the
moment, I was struck by two words: 2nd place.
Nobody competes for 2nd place, do they?
If that’s your goal, any good coach would tell you you’ve sold
yourself short. Even if you’re not that good, you always
start out competing for the grand prize. No NFL team says, “We hope to
lose the Super Bowl game this year.” Coaches are honored
and revered because they won the Super Bowl, not
because they lost it. Pitchers are remembered because they
won the World Series.
Nobody dreams about ‘winning’ second place.
So why in our churches do we think it’s ok to aim for second place
in areas like
- church events
- Sunday’s music
- Sunday’s announcements
- the resources we produce
- the small groups we lead
- the trainings we offer
- the meetings we plan
- the blogs we write
- the conversations we have
- our sermon series
- our outreach initiatives
- community impact
Does the Gospel make it ok for us to shoot for
second? Because the message is so powerful, are we then given the
freedom to not give our best effort to all areas of
our life and ministry? It’s tough to see how God is honored when we put
forth half-hearted efforts. Ever.
So let me be your coach today. Don’t compete for 2nd
place! Give it all you’ve got!
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly
prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians