We all want to win. These four guys won the Radical Mentoring Golf Classic on Monday. Tops among 22 teams.
Since a defining characteristic of a mentor is humility, I remind these guys that the gap between their ‘low net’ of 50 and par 72 was filled by effort and skill for sure. But also with handicaps and mulligans bought for $20 each. Who knows which made the biggest difference!
There’s a great analogy with ‘real life’ here. In our work, we put in effort . . . usually a lot of effort. We discover, develop and apply our skills. We earn the right to ‘the benefit of the doubt’ through our past performance and proven track record (i.e. our ‘handicap’). God’s grace & forgiveness is like a mulligan. A ‘do-over’. Roll all these together and sometimes we come out on top.
Don’t get me wrong . . . there’s nothing wrong with winning. It’s a lot more fun than losing. But sometimes, pressing hard for something almost guarantees not getting it, or getting the best of it.
“You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately: anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence. ‘I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst.”1
Games do that to us. They set us to win or lose against each other. Jesus sets us to love and serve each other . . . win or lose. We can’t ‘win’ heaven . . . don’t need to. Jesus won it on the cross and gave it to us as a free gift. We can’t win an award for being “super-Christian” because accepting it would disqualify us. Pride destroys humility . . . like ‘paper’ covers ‘rock’.
Winning as a Jesus-follower means having more of Him in your heart every minute of every day. Winning is walking with Him, praising Him & listening to His voice, giving time, talent and treasure to advance His Kingdom. Winning is a life of gratitude. Humility. Selfless service to others. Winning means allowing His Holy Spirit to constantly fill you…to bring peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Winning means loving the Lord your God with all your heart (ALL your desires), all your soul (your personality and talents) and with all your mind (your brain, thoughts, dreams and aspirations) and loving your neighbor as yourself.2 The first ‘neighbor’ you’re called to love is your spouse. The second, your children. And then everyone else.
If you were on one of the teams who lost to these guys, be encouraged. No one wins all the time and with next year’s Radical Mentoring Golf Classic already set for September 28, 2015 (mark your calendars now!), you’ve got a whole year to work on your game.
If you’re one of the sponsors or players who helped Radical Mentoring raise almost a third of its annual budget, thank you. On behalf of all the guys who’ll be Radically Mentored to go ‘all in’ for Jesus, thank you.
And if you’re a Jesus follower who’s failed at something, made a huge mistake, or just doesn’t feel much like a winner right now, know that your Heavenly Father loves you extravagantly in your humanity. Go by the Truth, not by your feelings. You are His adopted son (or daughter) and therefore, you are a winner!
1 A Year with C.S. Lewis – Harper Collins, San Fransisco, 2003, pg. 301
2 Matthew 22:36-39