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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Commitment to Win

I have a prediction for the fall football season: A small college- we'll call them Peanut University- will play a college that everyone knows and expects to win - let's call them Beat-Everyone-All-the-Time University. PU will take the field and the announcers will try to highlight some of their players but admit that this game is nothing more than a warm-up for BEATU.

PU wins the toss and elects to receive the ball. BEATU's kicker trots on the field and kicks the ball through the uprights. The BEATU players believe they have just scored a field goal and celebrate! The cannon that is sounded when BEATU scores is shot. It takes ten minutes of the officials time to explain why that doesn't count. "But we shot the cannon," one of the linemen says, "And coach said we don't shoot the cannon unless we scored, so we must have scored." While that seems reasonable to the BEATU players, the refs won't hear any more about it.The BEATU team thinks the refs are against them.

PU throws a bomb the first play from scrimmage. The BEATU defensive back is waving at one of the cheerleaders and doesn't notice PU's diminutive split end run past him. In fact, the split end is so small that the BEATU players think he must be a ball boy. The ball is caught and PU scores.

"No problem," thinks the BEATU players, "We haven't gotten the ball yet."

PU kicks off. However, their kicker, who kicks with all his might, closes his eyes just before he makes contact. He almost misses the ball! He kicks at such and angle and with such a slow trajectory that the ball barely goes ten yards. Meanwhile, the BEATU players are on the twenty yard line forming their famous "grind-everyone-in-front-of- us-in-the-ground wedge. PU falls on the ball.

"Wow," the announcers proclaim, "An onside kick! That was really gutsy."

PU, seizing the moment, throws another bomb. BEATU still doesn't recognize the split end as a player. He scores again. The score is 14-0.

This is when the announcers say some of the dumbest things you will ever hear. "It looks like the BEATU players don't know what hit them. Can you believe this? It looks like we have a real game on our hands."

There are two people on the field who know the truth. They are the coaches. The BEATU coach has gotten where he is by making a commitment to win. The other coach only hopes to win. He is happy to be ahead at any time during the game. The BEATU coach won't accept anything but winning. That is why he is where he is.

The final score is 96-14. You guessed it- BEATU wins.

Too many times people make the commitment to get ahead but not to win. They lose weight only to gain it back. They make the sale only to lose the resale. They get their lives in order just to go back to the way they were. They stopped drinking, smoking, gambling, spending, or any other harmful activity just to go back to it. They fail to realize that while life certainly has its challenges and there will be some moments of failure, that there must be a commitment to win so that you don't stay on the ground after getting knocked down.

The Christian life is not being perfect. It is not always making the right decisions at the right time. It is not without times of failure or being knocked back on you butt. It is about a commitment to keep getting up and fighting for victory. It is a commitment to win.

Yet, there are only a few people who understand this commitment. They stop short. They quit early. They do the minimum. They are mediocre, at best. They are failures, at worst. Amazingly, many of them don't even know they are failures. They look around and measure themselves against others within their churches. Most of the others don't have a commitment to win either.

Do you have the commitment to win? Do you set your heart to win or just get ahead? Do you find yourself going back to the things you wanted victory over?

I am absolutely sure that God wants us to win. The commitment on our part is to do so until we receive our reward.

I have stopped short at times. I have gone in when I should have continued. I will no longer do so. I may get knocked down but I will get up. I will be a winner because I will not accept defeat. I will depend upon my Lord for the outcome but I will also participate fully with Him. I will not hold back my efforts or my resources.

I am making a commitment to win. Will you join me?

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

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