Are you competitive? I think all of us have a bit of competitiveness in us, and let’s be honest. We like to win! I don’t care what it is, we get excited when we come out on top. And it doesn’t have to be winning the superbowl. I’ve seen middle aged men pump their fists after shooting an empty cup in a garbage can 10 feet away, or a grandma jump up from her chair with the agility of a gymnast yelling “bingo”! What if we lose? Do we ALWAYS congratulate the winner with kindness in our heart? Do we thank God for the beat down we just received? Doesn’t God expect us to, “do to others what you would have them do to you…” Matthew 7:12? Are we not supposed to lean on Him in good times and in bad? It’s easy to accept the cheers, but can we handle defeat? The Bible is FULL of awesome “losers” who come out on top. Jacob has to deceive his own father to steal Esau’s blessing. Of course He would become the great nation of Israel. King David, a “man after God’s own heart” commits adultery and has a man killed. Saul the Christian killer becomes Paul and becomes one of the most influential Christians and would author a lot of the New Testament. So, why did God elevate these broken men to eternal greatness? When their lives were at their worst and best God was always at the center. If they messed up, they owned it and went to the creator for forgiveness. Even in the case of Job when horrible situation after horrible situation kept raining down on him, his faith never failed and God raised him up! And when the times were great for these men, who do you think got the glory? That’s what separates Godly athletes from just athletes as well. I came across a story about a high school wrestling championship that displayed this.
Two high School wrestling champions were facing off against each other for a Minnesota state championship. Sophomores Mitchell McKee and Malik Stewart wrestled for the 120-pound state title on March 1, 2014. For McKee, the tournament meant a lot since his father, who has been battling terminal cancer, was in the audience. “I prayed ‘God help me win this match so I can go win a state title for my dad,'” McKee said. He went to the ultimate coach (God) for help.
McKee pinned Stewart down around 1:22 into the face-off, winning the match quickly. The hero had won. But the story doesn’t end there. Stewart did something many competitors who recently lost a bout would not do. He hugged McKee. “I went over there and I shook his hand, embraced him a little bit, and told him to stay strong and everybody loves him,” Stewart told KARE-TV. “I just did it straight from the heart,” he added. Isn’t that what God calls us to do? He wasn’t done there.
He then went over to embrace McKee’s coaches and his dad. The audience gave Stewart a standing ovation. God had made the “loser” a “winner” as well.
“I went through the same thing when I was younger but my dad didn’t pass by cancer, he died from a heart attack.” Stewart said. He was about seven when his dad had passed.
McKee said Stewart’s actions showed his sportsmanship. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“It was a really big match for him and to be able to hug my dad like that and not be mad and storm off like a lot of kids do,” said McKee. “Really respectful.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re a winner or loser in the stat sheets, in God’s game we all have the opportunity to come out on top as long as we accept Him as our coach.