Losing to Win
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” -- Philippians 3:7-8
If given a piece of paper and pen, and asked you to write down your list of athletic accomplishments, what would you write? Would you list out the awards you've received as perhaps the Most Valuable or Most Improved Player? Would you proudly list the significant victories or championships you’ve won? What about the personal moments like the first time you scored, a new career high or a defining play on the field or court?
Given the same opportunity, the Apostle Paul could have come up with a fairly impressive list himself. If he were so inclined to boast, his list could have included writing many, many books of the New Testament including Romans and 1&2 Corinthians to name a few, as well as disciplining and mentoring those who would go on to be great leaders in their own ways. Perhaps he would even note that he was once a Pharisee to go along with his impressive career as a leader of the early church and a well-traveled missionary.
However, Philippians 3:7-8 paints a very different picture as Paul puts his accomplishments in the proper perspective when he says, "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ...I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ." Garbage? Really? That seems like a harsh way to view such an amazing life, however, Paul recognized that without Christ, it's all worthless. Without Christ, all of these accomplishments and things he had accumulated were of no value, specifically of no eternal value. Further, Paul knew that none of these things that have earthly value could save him, and so he counted it all a loss so that he could gain Christ.
As coaches and athletes, we all too often place considerable emphasis on wins and losses and forget that while important on gameday, those things lack eternal significance. How about you? Where are you putting your efforts and investing your time, resources and talents? Would you consider everything else a loss to gain Christ, or are you trying to hold on ever tighter to things that will ultimately be gone anyway? While God may have given you much to enjoy while you are here like the gift of athleticism, none of it was given to you to put above Him, so choose today to count it all loss and gain a deeper, more meaningful relationship with Jesus.
- Briefly write down your daily routine and some of the accomplishments you have achieved.
- Now consider how you could use your time and talents to direct those around you towards God and make an eternal difference.
- Remember, God has given you opportunities and areas of influence that He wants you to use to help draw others into a relationship with Him.
“Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts and abilities You have given to me. Help me to stay focused not on my own accomplishments but rather on serving You. Use my every moment to draw others to You. Amen.”