Even as friends compete they know the harsh facts. Only one wins. In corporate ladders the numbers of spaces near the top gets dramatically fewer. Only the strong, ruthless, or relentless survive. Friends know all the talk about community ends at some point and things move to hand to hand combat. This is all true unless one person concedes and automatically gives the victory to another.
I am personally convinced that the ideas and principles of competition with playoffs, rankings, and individual winners are directly at odds with the concept of unlimited unconditional compassion and grace. One view centers on the individual and the other on the community. They do not, cannot, and will not survive in the same space together.
The foundation for the view that I hold is founded on quotes and statements similar to John’s – “It's not possible for a person to succeed—I'm talking about eternal success—without heaven's help.” (John 3.27) The logical sequence follows these lines. If there is real success then it must exist with Divine help. I can see many examples of real success. Therefore God is working with individuals on many concurrent fronts so it must be, in the end and from the highest viewpoint, the ultimate team effort!
Look around you. There are expressions of love, intense, passionate, and compassionate, all around us. Some of these expressions take on the form of art, two dimensional and three, others utilize music, and still others relationships. Many are powerful examples of succeeding in the middle of adversity and pain. If one examines the living illustrations of people giving up part of their lives for others, especially those who cannot repay their gifts with anything more or less than a smile, the discovery of what is happening causes one to wonder about the role and purpose of competition.
Having said this, I still compete albeit differently. No longer is winning important; being in the game, working and living with others, living life – is all that matters. God has chosen the winners – everyone who accepts his offer of love!