Competition

ImageI must admit that I love competition.  I suppose it offers me the closest thing that I know to a justifiable war which somewhat satisfies and placates the warrior in me.  I enjoy the challenge of competition and the struggle – it heightens my senses; it makes my pulse quicken.  I worked for a man who once told me that the spirit of competition was so strong within him that if he saw two ants fighting on the sidewalk that he would stop and cheer for one of them.  Competition can be good and healthy; but there is one place where competition has no place…within the work of the Lord.  In the gospel of Luke we are told that the disciple John felt a sense of competition rise up within him when he said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.”  John was under the impression that the work of the Lord and the advancement of his kingdom could only progress through their group and he was ready to condemn anyone else that would try.  But notice what Jesus says in response to John’s competitive spirit, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.”  Wow!  In one sentence Jesus reminds us of several truths.  FIRST, the work of the Lord belongs to the Lord.  The advancement of God’s kingdom is about God and not about me or you.  It does not matter so much who gets the message of truth to the world as long as the message of truth gets to the world.  SECOND, just because someone belongs to a different group does not mean that they cannot be involved in real ministry for the Lord.  That means different denominations can be effective for the Lord.  It means that different personalities can be effective for the Lord.  It means that God can use anyone he wants, anytime he wants.  THIRD, I should not feel infringed upon when God chooses to use someone else different than me.  Jesus would say in John 17:20-21 – “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  (NKJV)  God does not want us to have a spirit of competition within the body of Christ; he wants us to have a spirit of cooperation.  God is going to ask us to work with people that aren’t easy to work with.  He is going to ask us to work with people that we don’t see eye to eye with.  He is going to ask us to work together because his kingdom is more important than our denominations, our preferences, and our personalities.  God deserves our cooperation so save the competition for the church softball league.

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