"1989-1998 Prairie View Panthers lose 80 straight college football games."
I had the opportunity to attend the middle school sports banquet this past week. Let me say up front that this event is well organized and a classy way to honor young athletes. As I listened to each of the coaches talk about their players, the season, etc, I was struck by the fact that losing seasons did not garner as many comments as winning seasons.
Losing is certainly not something any of us enjoy. In fact, it can be downright embarrassing at times! How many of you remember a time when you were thumped at something? It might have been a sporting event, or a music contest, or simply a game. How did you feel?
It's tough to get over defeat. It's easy to be on top, but much more difficult to swallow when you're on the bottom. Is that why so many leaders who are "winning" get complacent? When you're winning everyone is "for" you, it's easy to sit back and enjoy it all, and your vision for the future is not as important as living in the moment.
When your losing however, reality strikes. Your vision for the future suddenly becomes VERY important. Words like strategy, brainstorming, and evaluation invade your environment. Blame and pride can become embittered in your soul and covering your tail is a daily event.
Does either scenario sound familiar? It seems like your value as a human is based upon whether you win or lose. How many times have we seen a coach win a championship in his career but be fired soon after a losing season?
Let me clarify a few things...Winning is a good thing. Losing is a good thing. A balanced perspective is the key.
The banquet got me thinking about our role as a follower of Jesus. I mean, let's face it - as humans, we're losers. We mess up all the time. We never get it perfect and we never will. If we look at our life "record" we'll find it extremely lopsided.
Wouldn't it be fair for God to look at our record to determine our worth? That's what we do with others right? So why can't God? If that were the case, we'd all be in trouble!
Thankfully, God looks at our heart and not our accomplishments:
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
No matter how many times we stumble or fall, we have to continue to run the race with perseverance. Despite the fact that we might not win a game or we have a losing record,God still loves us. If we follow His path, if we are faithful to the end, if we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, in His "record" book we are winners.
Deut. 5:33 (NIV)
"Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess."