“You do not preach for temporal gain. In sales, you only get credit for what you sell. With the gospel, you get credit for proclaiming the gospel, irrespective of the response.” Walter A. Henrichsen (“Walt H”)
Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man by Walter A Henrichsen (“Walt”)
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it…. I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The Bible does not prohibit competition. Scripture says very little about it. Interestingly, nothing in the Old Testament political or economic system lends itself to competition. God instituted no athletic events in the Old Testament Theocracy. This does not mean that you cannot compete. The believer is free to do whatever the Bible does not prohibit. But you must be careful when you compete that you do not covet. Competition is tied to covetousness, contentment, and comparison.
Like the other three words, competition can either be good or bad. You compete in a good sense when you, like Paul, strive for excellence in your walk with God. Paul, using the analogy of an athlete, says that the followers of Christ compete, but against only themselves. How they run the race of life in comparison to others makes no difference; only the degree to which they maximize their own potential for the cause of Christ.
You sin when you compete with others for the limited resources of the world. In such competition there is usually only one winner, and you win at the expense of your competitor. This does not mean that you cannot compete. Rather you cannot compete in such a way that you covet to win and are discontent when you lose.
When playing board games with my children, the game usually ended with tears of frustration while one lost to another. We don’t mean by “good sportsmanship” that the loser does’t care; that is unrealistic. Rather we mean that he should not reveal how deeply he cares. The world’s system encourages competition. Beauty contests, gold medals in the Olympics, etc., encourage people to derive their significance from their ability to compete successfully. Such competition is either the product of or leads to covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry.
Numbers 17-19 Mark 6:30-56 (New King James Version)
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