LOOKING UP: We can all be winners in the living of life
Monday, 18 February 2013 by Joe Baisden
Another Super Bowl has come and gone. This last one came and had a little trouble going.
A priority to host our life group from church for dinner and Bible study in our home at the same time as the game required a blackout on watching the big sports event until our guests were leaving. It was a surprise to find that the game had been delayed by a power failure at the New Orleans Superdome, leaving lots of action left to watch before the winner would be declared.
It was certain, however, that one of the teams would win and the other would lose. This rule in athletics and our obsession with sports has contributed to our buying into this win/lose concept in life in general. If I win, you have to lose.
The only passage which I have found in the Bible which gets close to the win/lose concept is found in the words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24ff: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
He goes on to speak of the enthusiasm and effort he himself is expending in living the Christian life. He did not want to become disqualified for the prize after he had preached to others.
In this passage Paul is mandating intensity in our running the Christian race. But even though he says it is like a race in which only one wins the prize, the context reveals to the disciple that all who qualify can win the prize. It ought to encourage us to know that the Bible teaches that it is possible for all of us to win in the business of living. In fact, the Bible mandates not only our seeking a win for ourselves, but we are commissioned to make an effort to help others win.
It was a joy to discover some years ago a voice for the win/win philosophy in the acutely competitive area of business. Stephen Covey was being paid large sums of money to instruct people trying to "get ahead" in business to "think win/win." I never got to hear him, but found his refreshing message in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. His words: "In our inter-personal relationships, we should strive for every transaction we have with each other to be a win/win situation for each person."
If we persist in the "I win/you lose' approach to life, we will come to share in the loss we have promoted. If I destroy you, ultimately I will be destroyed. Dr. Benjamin Franklin understood this when, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he said, "We must all hang together, else we shall all hang separately."
Perhaps this can best be illustrated in the home scenario. If parents win and kids lose, what happens to the family? When kids rebel and get their way, refusing to assist parents in their God-given responsibility of home leadership, just how much is their winning worth? When the family is fractured or bruised, how can anyone claim a win?
Selfishness is always at the root of the win/lose philosophy. I want what I want, when I want it, no matter what it does to anyone else, leaves the battlefield of life strewn with unattended wounded. On the contrary, the win/win philosophy is rooted in selflessness. Yes, it does take care of self, but always with a view to bringing others along for the win.
Early in the Bible (Gen. 4:9) Cain asked God, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The answer to that question is given in many ways in Scripture. Perhaps Galatian 6:2 answers it best: "Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." – Phil. 2:4