Winning Redefined

Opening Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help me to grow in greater knowledge of you and your heart and character. Reveal to me what it truly means to seek first your kingdom and its righteousness and trust that you will add everything else I need as I learn to yield to you!

 

Read: Matthew 19:29-30, NIV

29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

 

Reflect:   

As a child growing up and hanging out with friends, you probably had some type of competition amongst yourselves every day! One day it was who could run the fastest. The next day it was who could throw the ball the farthest, or perhaps some friendly arm wrestling, just to name a few. Then came organized sports: soccer, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball...whatever it was, it had, at its very core, the idea of winning. This was defined as “coming out on top” or “having better results than anyone else or any other team.” Nowhere in your experiences were you told that the best outcome was to lose!

Now, in our adulthood, we think about how workplace politics go and how church and city committees are formed. We vie or compete for positions of authority and influence. We believe that if we are greater in these arenas, we can be something more. Unfortunately, the art of “getting ahead” or “one-upping” someone is not limited to the non-believing world. All this is done sincerely, with the goal of promoting our cause or our families or friends or whatever wholesome objectives we can claim.

Then Jesus comes along and says, “the last shall be first…” How is that possible? It has all to do his gift of eternal life to us today. Because Jesus Christ came to die in our place, we are redeemed and have the hope of eternity in Heaven with God. Jesus, who was perfect in every way, knew no wrong, put himself “last” and humanity “first” by bearing the consequences of our sin. Jesus’ life on earth demonstrated service, selflessness, giving and sacrifice. As we model this, God will be honored and reward us according to how we demonstrate “Christ-like living.” Luke 14:10 (NIV) is one of my favorite verses to illustrate this: “But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' I Peter 5:6 (NIV) says, “humble yourselves therefore under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

 

Apply: 

Consider the energies you expend today that put you in a better, more favorable position, compared to the efforts you exert putting God and his kingdom in a better place. When you inventory your time and resources, examine your checkbook and your calendar on your smart phone and see where your time and money all go. Consider “paying it forward” for God’s kingdom. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

 

Closing Prayer: 

Dear Lord, help me see my life on earth as Christ lived his out, in service to a lost world. Help me to weigh the outcome of my actions in terms of the impact on the lost, so that I might win them for the kingdom of God…even if it costs me everything now. Thank you, God, that you first loved us, demonstrating to us how to live in this fallen world.  

Terry Schneider