I am the Winner!
Recently, my 4 year old son has become obsessed with winning. He goes around saying, “I want to be the winner.” When he thinks he has won something he yells, “I am the winner! I am the winner!” Normally, I would discourage my child’s obsession with being first, but he has an unusual idea of winning. He thinks winning is when you are the last to finish. When we are picking up his toys and he places the last toy in his toy box he declares that he is the winner. When we are playing a game and he is the last to cross the finish line he revels in his victory. Whenever he comes in last he thinks he has won and he is overjoyed.
Eventually, I am sure that may son will catch on to the standard definition of winning, but what if he didn’t? Would it be so bad if he went around thinking the first is last and the last is first? His definition of winning may be wrong to the world, but it is right in the eyes of God. Jesus reminds us on several occasions that “the last will be first and the first will be last.” In Luke 22 we are told that a dispute arose among the disciples over who would be the greatest. Jesus answered them by saying, “the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves” (vs. 26). Jesus goes on to remind them in the next verse that he is among them as one who serves. Paul informs us in Philippians 2:7 that Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.” The Greatest among us did not focus on being first. The focus of Jesus’ life was on serving others and putting others first.
We think that winning is all about coming in first, but what if we changed the way we think? What would happen if we began to think like Jesus? What would it look like if we began to live out this principle in our life? People would think we were crazy and strange. The world believes that winning means coming in first, but we would be living out a different principle. We would be living out the ethics of the Kingdom of God. We would be showing people God’s definition of winning. Winning is not about my greatness. It is not about my great athletic ability or my superior skills. Winning is thinking of others more than myself. Winning is volunteering for jobs that others refuse to do. Winning is seeing and responding to people who are often overlooked. Winning is choosing to serve even when I do not have to do so. Winning is adopting God’s definition of words rather than the world’s definition.