We live in a very competitive world. So much of this competitive spirit plays out in high school, college and professional sports. If we are not careful, a competitive spirit can override the command of Jesus to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 19:19)
Football has really been big in Mississippi this year. For a while Mississippi State and Ole Miss were ranked in the top four of all the college football polls. Nobody ever dreamed of that.
Let me share with you where the real football was played in Mississippi. In October the Brandon Bulldogs were playing the Northwest Rankin Cougars. During the first half of the game the Cougars lost their only quarterback to an injury.
Rather than just make it an easy victory, the Bulldogs decided to send one of their two quarterbacks, Mason Mathieu, over to the Cougars in order to level the playing field. The Bulldogs still won the game, but Mathieu commented, “It was great playing with them. They’re a great group of guys.” He did pass for two touchdowns!
But the Brandon Bulldogs won twice – they won not only on the scoreboard, but in the game of life that teaches the importance of people. Their concern for other people was not negated by an over emphasis on competition.
Back in October the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national soccer team arrived in the U.S. for the World Cup qualifying match. The T&T coach, Randy Waldrum, realized that his squad did not have enough money for breakfast, or much else. He simply posted that need on Twitter for some help from the “home folks” in Trinidad and Tobago.
The rival Haitian national team saw the tweet. The Haitian national team had its own financial woes, but it donated all the $1,316 it had collected through fundraising. Wow! The Haitian coach Shek Borkowski said, “My players saw the difficulties faced by T&T. They wanted to help, so I did what they asked.”
The real winner in the women’s national soccer competition was Haiti, not in the number of goals scored, but in a benevolent gesture that will last a lifetime for those participating.
Whether it is competition at a high school football game or at a World Cup qualifying match, some people learned that winning is more than simply beating someone on the field. It is also helping a rival team through a tough time. Solomon writes, “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.” (Proverbs 11:30)
I am very competitive. This whole idea really convicts me. At a time in our year when competition dominates the headlines, and some football teams get left out of the play-offs and bowl selection, may we remember Jesus words about how we treat other people is more important than if we score more points than they do. Christmas is about the greatest win ever when God gave the winning Gift of His Son!
What’s the score in your game of life?