When losing is winning

It’s all about winning in the world we live in.

But, in God’s eyes, losing is sometimes better.

Take Jesus’ words in Mark 9 as he deals with the disciples privately arguing about who will be the greatest in Christ’s kingdom:  “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

That turns upside down the normal way we view our world.  We may be surprised by the people we meet in heaven who have received the greatest rewards – some may be the quiet ones out of the limelight in the world we live in.

I recently attended a men’s conference where men who have attended one of these conferences before are encouraged to invite others to come – and to serve them.  The idea is that these people serve at tables, carry suitcases, park cars, and do additional tasks for the general good of others.

Voluntary servanthood involves self-sacrifice – I am called to give up time, money and personal ambition to help others for the sake of Jesus.

As I look at myself, I am ready to help others but I grumble inside if it is likely to cost me anything significant.  I left that conference with something to work on in my own life.

I ask myself, was Jesus not the perfect servant, giving up his life of glory to come down to my world to die for me on the cross?  Am I justified in my grumbling about the little things I am called to do?

There is another area where losing is more important than winning – giving up control of my life to Jesus.

That is one of my toughest battles and I believe it is the same for most Christians.

To begin with, taking the step of faith in Christ means admitting we can’t meet God’s standards for eternal life.  We can never be good enough.

We are accepted by God because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross and his resurrection, defeating Satan.

But even after that surrender of my life to Jesus, I find myself still trying to take back control of my everyday life, doing my own thing.

Watchman Nee, a great Chinese Christian who died in a Chinese Communist prison camp, wrote a book called The Life That Wins which declares that winning over our character flaws and sins means giving it all up to God.  It means admitting that we can’t do it ourselves.  We have to depend on God to do it in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

In this sense, losing means winning.

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