We all want to win. Including the golfers that are teeing off this morning at the 2019 Radical Mentoring Golf Classic (depending on when you read this, they may even be playing right now). But only one team will be this year’s champs.
Since humility is a defining characteristic of a mentor, I like to remind the winners that the gap between their winning “net score” and the course’s par 72 wasn’t just filled with effort and skill, but also, with handicaps and mulligans . . . who knows which made the biggest difference!
There’s a great real-life analogy here. In our work, we put in effort . . . often a lot of effort. We discover, develop, and apply our skills. We earn the benefit of the doubt through our past performance and proven track record (i.e., our handicap). God’s grace and forgiveness are like mulligans. Do-overs. 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.
C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed . . .
“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.”
Games do that to us. They set us 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, and giving time, talent, and treasure to advance His Kingdom. Winning is a life of gratitude, humility, and selfless service to others.
Winning means allowing His Holy Spirit to fill you constantly . . . to bring peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Winning means loving the Lord your God with all your heart (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. The first neighbor you’re called to love is your spouse. The second, your children. And then everyone else.
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!