Recently, I entered a story contest. I had never entered anything like that before and hoped my work would be good enough to raise an eyebrow or two. I even imagined the judges saying to each other as they passed my work along, “Not bad...this shows potential.” I must admit that my fantasies soared so high that I envisioned them reading the other entries, returning to mine and smiling as they proclaimed, “This is the obvious winner!”
I am certain that all who entered their work were as anxious as I was to discover who had won. The day before the committee was to announce the winner; I discovered that only one entry could win since among the two dozen or more entries only one story had been entered. Being an author, I was certain the winning story was mine because I knew what constituted a story. Furthermore, disqualification of my work was not an option, so I told myself that I had won. “Hurray,” you might say. “Good job!”
However, the idea of winning by default crept in. Now you might wonder why I did this to myself and so did I. Then I remembered the Jewish rabbis attitude towards people, God, and life. These wise men understood how we view the world and they discovered the use of the word adequate covered everything we would experience from cradle to casket. They taught us that when you are born – you are adequate. When you’re a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – your adequate. When you marry – you are adequate. When you graduate college – you are adequate. When you become a Roads Scholar, a doctor, a humanitarian, invent a means of illuminating nuclear waste, solve the problems of the world, and unify the solar system – you are adequate. In Judaism, one can never be more than adequate because according the rabbis we would be elevating ourselves to a position, which belongs to God alone.
This philosophy is valid until we apply it to God incarnate, Yeshua HaMashiach...Christ. In Him, we see the deity of the Godhead and all the humanity of man. Since he called us to be His and walk in a manner worthy of Him, I found myself wondering what He would think of wining or to be more specific, what would He thing about winning by default.
I sought Him, turned to Isaiah 55:8, and read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
I ponder these words, thought about the apostle Paul, and realized that he gave up everything. I assumed that he had wanted the rabbis to consider him adequate. Yet when Messiah called, he gave his desires no credence – none at all. And we are asked to do likewise.
Now I understand that winning by default or not winning has no value whatsoever unless I am trying to garner applause from men. If that is where my focus is, I will always loose in the end because the things of this world will perish. Only when I strive towards the goal, which is Messiah himself, do I win for then I remember that in Him, I am more than a conqueror!