This is the story of two brothers ages 11 and 9.
Both boys love playing football and competing.
Both boys worked very hard this year and were named captains to their respective teams.
Both boys played huge roles for their teams in every facet of the game (offense, defense and special teams).
Both boys’ teams won 6 regular season games and made the playoffs.
But like so many years before, the younger brother’s team lost in the first round of the playoffs. Something different happened for the older brother. The older brother’s team won.
The older brother’s team then went to the championship game and won that too.
This is the true story of my two younger boys, Cal (11) and Max (9).
As the father of these two boys it was impossible to manage the emotions of the two boys after that first weekend of playoffs. While one was celebrating the big win the other was in a funk all weekend and crying himself to sleep because they had lost and his season was over.
The following weekend after winning the “Peanut Bowl” who was the first person congratulating Cal? Max.
This may sound obvious to most but I think many of us have baggage that might nag at us otherwise – Even though their seasons ended in very different ways, my affection for my children never changed based on their results.
Did I love Cal more for winning. Nope.
Did I love Max less for losing. Not a chance.
While winning is fun and there may not be many who enjoying winning and competing like I do (just ask my wife, I’m always competing at everything!) it is never the point.
Who they are becoming is.
Are they gracious in victory and defeat? Are they learning to give everything they have and to be ok with the results as long as they’ve given it their all?
These are things that matter.
Nothing they do can make me love them more or less. No amount of wins or losses can change that I am their dad and love them fiercely.
That leads me to my big point.
As a people group we tend to try to impress God with our wins and hide from him when we have losses.
The Scriptures teach that all our “wins” are as “filthy rags”. I won’t go into what that fully means but let’s just say it’s gross.
I’ve often compared taking our little wins before God in an attempt to impress him to a child taking a poorly constructed, gold spray painted, macaroni frame to their parents. They’re beaming with pride as the parent just smiles and tells them how amazing it is.
That’s how God feels when we try to bring our best accomplishments and wins to him.
What he really cares about is who are we becoming? Are we becoming more Christ-like? Gracious, compassionate, caring, loving, wise? Less prone to anger and jealousy, quicker to move to help others? Less selfish? More concerned with justice and mercy than self-absorbed?
While all our wins are great and they make us smile (and I do believe God rejoices with us in our wins as well) they are never the point.
On the flip side of that, when we fail or lose, those moments don’t define us either. Just like I still love my kids equally, God does not love us less when we don’t succeed.
The Scriptures are filled with stories of those who lost but they became more like Jesus in the process and that’s the big win.
Be encouraged! Whether you’re winning or losing right now, neither really matters to God. What matters is who you’re becoming as a result of it.
Are you becoming more or less like Jesus?
Now…because I love football and my boys, here are two videos from this season!
Max is #10.
…and Cal’s Peanut Bowl game. He’s #11.