I got greedy.
I wanted to end the morning with a win. Let the band strike up, “We Are the Champions,” because we’re marching into the weekend as the victors. We’d won every game of the morning’s basketball session. One more would have meant a clean sweep.
Did I say I got greedy?
Yes, I thought I did.
With the score tied, my young friend Richard swooshed the game winner. Oh, crackers!
Yes, crackers (unless you prefer my grandmother’s favorite expletive, “oh, fudge”).
Richard played for the other team.
Competition or community?
Competition. I do have a strong competitive streak running through me (well, not so strong that I stay afterwards and shoot 500 free throws or run 50 wind sprints—in other words, not enough to work at winning; just enough to wish at winning).
But I have enough of a competitive spirit that I want to win every game. And when I’m in a competitive frame of mind, I grouse when I lose. Not so much, I kick the dog when I get home or rip down water coolers. It’s my attitude. Oh, crackers. We should have won.
I didn’t even think about what that last shot meant for Richard. I just thought how I hated to leave the gym on a losing streak (of one, mind you, but a losing streak nonetheless).
Community. When I arrived home, I started rethinking the morning’s exercise. I reframed my basketball playing experience in a community mindset rather than a competitive one. And here’s what I came up with.
No one got hurt (at my age, that’s big).
Richard made a winning shot (at his age, that’s a huge boost of confidence—shoot, I’ll be honest. It’s huge at my age too).
In general, we had good-natured banter before, during, and after the game.
If I stop worrying about winning, I celebrate a young man’s efforts and success, strengthen the bonds that bind, and enjoy my place within the early-morning basketball community.
I’m aware, as well, of the competitive nature within churches and among Christ followers.
I’ve been there, done that.
I am there, doing that.
But Jesus said, ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).
In the same evening, He repeated the message in greater detail. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:9-13 NIV).
What does loving another person look like?
This morning, Love would have walked up to Richard, looked him in the eye, and said, “Great shot.”
I’m curious. When was the last time someone else hit the proverbial game winner? How did you respond to his or her success?
Read more about “selfish” Love @ THEKARSTENKAZ
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