We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point. 2 Corinthians 10:12 (TM)
I’ve been watching as advertising for the Olympic games is raised to a fever pitch. I’ll admit that I always look forward to watching the games. I have been a fan of the Olympics since I was a kid.
We love competition in our culture, don’t we? Whether it’s Olympic races, presidential races or food eating races – we can turn anything into a game of sport. In fact, we’re so obsessed with competition that we’re not content to simply watch the actual competition, we have to create "fantasy leagues" so that we’re competing on fantasy games beyond the actual game.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that our lust for competition bleeds over into our spiritual lives. Just going to a church isn’t good enough – we need a "mega church." Bigger is better. How many people do you put in the seats on Sunday? I hear conversations all the time in which people subtly brag on the merits of their pastor as if they are raising the stakes on a spiritual poker game for the pot of bragging rights.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back in the first century, Paul found himself thrust into the same issues. The church in Corinth was divided as people lined up behind their favorite teacher as if they were picking teams for a game of playground kick ball. Paul had been warned that no one wanted to play on his team.
You have to appreciate Paul’s observation that, when it comes to all this silly competition, we’re quite missing the point. It’s not about bragging rights for my church. The point is not the number of converts to which we can lay claim. It’s not about the hordes of people my pastor attracts, the list of letters behind his name, who wrote what best seller, or that my pastor’s son plays professional basketball.
The point is simply knowing Christ, being obedient and striving to mature as, day-by-day, I live out this life.