Spiritual Director · July 31, 2017

Devote #72

Being Competitive

Not sure why or how it happens, but some people are gifted, some are cursed, with a competitive spirit.  There is this drive inside of some people who are compelled, given the right situation, who will not give up, quit, tuck tail and run, until they have given their complete best in coming out victorious. I happen to be one of these.

I remember when our son was still shorter than me, and we would play a friendly game of “Horse” or “Pig” or whatever other animal we wanted to spell out. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, one person shoots a basketball at the net. If they make it their opponent has to make that same shot. If they miss they get a letter in the name of the animal. The loser is the one who spells out the animal first.

When my son and I played, I always won. My bride would ask me if I could just let him win once in awhile, to which I would thoughtfully reply, “No.” The competitive spirit isn’t always nice or even fair.

Just so you know, some people have very little interest as to whether they win or lose and I just don’t get that. I like to win. I don’t like to lose. I’m just wired that way.

I thought of that today as I read Luke 19. In it Jesus is entering into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people are all shouting and spreading their garments and tree branches out on the road as He comes. They’re giving Him what we call a “triumphant entry,” praising God for Him and what’s He’s done.

However, there were some religious leaders who didn’t like all the commotion and what the people were saying so they told Jesus to make them stop. Jesus relied,

“If they keep quiet, these stones will start shouting.” —Luke 19:40

That right there, kicks in that competitive spirit within me. To think that if I keep my mouth shut in praising and worshipping my God, rocks will outdo me, just hits me wrong. To think that a rock could out sing me, out pray me, out service me just doesn’t sit right with me. Thinking of it, kicks me into action.

Now, just so you know, I have lost some events. I haven’t won them all, but I can honestly tell you, I lost them giving my absolute best. But the thought of an inanimate object, I mean, one that can’t even move unless I kick it down the road, beat me in loving my God, says, “Bring it on!”

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Don’t let the rocks beat you, even if you don’t have a competitive bone in your body. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Open your mouth, pour out your heart and praise God for all He’s done. Don’t let the rocks win!

Today, I give You all my praise! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.