Now I will be honest…at first attempt, I struggled with this article. I didn’t struggle as much over the subject as I did the title. The reason is…I am adamantly opposed to a participation trophy culture that rewards every effort as success…even poor effort. I think that the psychology behind handing every kid a trophy for showing up SOFTENS a society and removes the seed of inner drive that propels people toward excellence.
At the same time…as we are less that 12 hours away for the CFP National Championship Game…I wrestle with the idea that one of the teams may be considered “losers” after the game. In my estimation, there can be no “losers” in the National Championship Game. Sure, someone is necessarily going to be crowned the champion because when the 60 minutes of game-clock expire, they will be recognized for having put the most points on the board; however, the other team is not a loser. They won repeatedly throughout the season and simply lost the final contest they appeared in. After all, they are still (I hope) the Crimson Tide of Alabama. They are still the “standard” in College Football to paraphrase Clemson’s head coach at the National Press Club event. 🙂
This is true of football (I believe), but it is also true of any other aspects of life. Marriage, for instance, is not defined by the last 5 minutes. It should be defined by the whole. A “buzzard” of a husband is not absolved of his shenanigans simply because he brought a bouquet of flowers three minutes ago. At the same time, 27 years of successful marriage should not be eclipsed by one failure in the past 5 minutes. The fact is…a man could be a good husband who failed recently and still be a good husband.
It is also true of the Christian faith. When we look at the Apostle Peter, do we focus on his sinking when he walked on water toward Jesus? Do we zero in on his denial of Christ in the courtyard the night before Jesus’ death? Do we define him by the moment he doubted Jesus when told to lower his nets? Not if we are wise! If we are wise, we look at the totality of life and evaluate Peter in light of everything…from beginning to end. We take into account the fact that he left everything to follow Jesus. We consider that while he sank while walking on water…he did get out of the boat and walk on water by faith! We hone in on the reality that the faulty faith of Peter at his denial was measured against the fantastic faith of Peter that preached at Pentecost. We consider that someone else ( Jesus) valued Peter…He called Him…He consecrated Him…He restored Him…He empowered Him. How could we call Peter a loser? We could not…if we understand the Christian life.
Perhaps you have been considering your last great failure. Perhaps you came up a few points short in the game, fumbled the last opportunity to avoid a temptation, or blew it in a relationship. You could listen to the voices that recall only your latest failure…or you could “strap up” and get back in the game for one more series, one more quarter, or one more season. As a Christ-follower, you are not a failure. You are not a loser; even when you miss the mark, you are not a loser. Even when the devil wins a round, you are not a loser.
Victory in Christ is measured by the totality, not the last event of your journey. So, “strap up” and get back in the game. There’s another season, another opportunity, and a lot of clock left in the real contest of life. Make your NEXT Series, your best series!