This past Friday, we hosted our 6th annual Easter outreach. About 23 kiddos showed up. The two years prior, we hosted around 40. I don’t know what it is, but I always put pressure on myself to out do what’s been done the previous year. Every fall since 2006 (with the exception of 2009) I’ve run a half marathon, and each race I am competing to beat my last time.
When I was disappointed we didn’t have as many kiddos here as in the past for our party, I decided I am weary of trying to “up one” with each thing I do! Now I have always been a very competitive person, and I believe competition can be very beneficial and healthy. (Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. “Colossians 3:23) One of our kiddos inherited that gene from his momma, and, boy, is it a blast to watch him compete at any sport he plays! I love how he always gives it his best and has a never quit attitude. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that he is just like me in many ways. I’ve gained a little wisdom as I’ve aged…kids in school always thought I was so smart. It wasn’t that I was all that smart….I just worked hard, didn’t settle for less, always wanted to be at my best. This kiddo of mine is not the smartest in the class either, but he sure gives it his all, and because of that, he flourishes.
Paul said, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)
So what if I don’t beat my next time in my next race? What if my boy doesn’t win his next game? What if I don’t have as many people show up at our next outreach? All I know is it wearies me to think through these questions, and I am able to receive the peace I need when I am reminded that Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) and “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30)
And when it comes to obeying His commission to go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation, thank you, Lord, that it really does not depend on me or the numbers I manage to increase. For Paul also wisely said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”
May I always do my work “heartily as unto the Lord”, but may my prideful, competitive spirit not get in the way….