Is anyone in real competition with another? Yes, we read about politicians moving from one role to another, in their less than subtle efforts to be in the most powerful position, however he or she defines that sort of thing. Yes, we see more and more corporate executives forced from power by disgruntled shareholders. The rationale is that there is someone who can do the role better than the incumbent is. Even the most uncompetitive positions, religious leaders, compete for the acceptance of their viewpoints, ideas, and structures. Everyone is competing. The conclusion could easily be that you and I need to get into the flow.
Compete or die. Only the strong survive! Growth, scale, and being bigger than anyone else is the way one defines winning. Or does it?
As many know well, I am slightly competitive. Actually it isn’t hard for me to acknowledge that I have a competitive problem! I hate losing. I despise coming in second. I loath any standing that isn’t first. It really doesn’t matter when, where, or why. I play everything to win! Basketball with the girls, lawn croquet, or work; everything is boom or bust. Nothing lies in between.
What if I am measuring things by the wrong standard? What if I am rivals with the very people that are on my team? This isn’t the first time someone has questioned how the score is being kept. “Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people.” (John 4.1, 2) He realized what was going on and did something about it.
Do I? Will I? When and where will be the first example?
In quiet ways we all compete for attention, recognition, and a place at the table. Points come in all shapes and sizes. Jesus’ action is a lesson in recognizing the real game; its time you and I took notes.