¡°WINNING OR LOSING¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: Colossians 3:1-4 January 20, 2013.
1) Words of a pro golfer: The Master Tournament is one of the most prestigious in professional golf. In 2009, Kenny Perry ended up second place after leading all the way to the final round. Writing in New York Times, Bill Pennington described Perry as ¡°disappointed but not despondent¡± after the loss. ¡°I¡¯ll look back on it occasionally and wonder what I might have done differently, but I won¡¯t dwell in it,¡± Perry said. ¡°If this is the worst thing that happens in my life, I¡¯ve got it pretty good. I won¡¯t let it dog me. There are so many other things in life that matter more, such as I¡¯ll go home tonight with my family and we¡¯ll have fun.¡±
Words of an apostle: ¡°If you then were raised with Christ, seek those
things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set
your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.¡± (
LET¡¯S TALK ABOUT WINNING:
1) Winning is in our blood: In almost all aspects of our life, we all want to win. We want to win in competition, in sports, in music, in school, in job, friendship, favor of people, things we do, just to list a few. In every normal person, he/she wants to win, no one wants to lose. I don¡¯t know where this nature comes from, but it is in our bloodstream. We were born wanting to win in things to do. The urge or intent to win energizes us to go further, get higher, do more and try harder.
2) Winning is not guaranteed: With all due respect to all men and women; boys and girls, I have an advice to all: Unless it is a set up or bribery, there is no guarantee on anyone to win. No matter what we do or participate, no matter how able you may be, there is always a possibility you may lose. If you are really good in something, you may have a greater chance to win. But in all life situations, there is no guarantee you will always win.
3) Winning is only part of life: The other part of life is losing. No one in human history had lived a life with all the winning and no losing. Life is a combination of winning and losing no matter of your background, education, socioeconomic status, position or power in the world. No one had ever lived a life with all the winning without any losing. The reasons are many in this fact. One of them is no one has all the control of all the element of life to make all things successful or winning. God never makes anyone with that supreme power. God is the only one who has never suffered a loss.
4) Winning is not all about life: No one may deny that winning is a good feeling. Winning is glorious, exciting and uplifting. But there are other things that may bring same or higher level of joy, glory and honor than winning. Things like honesty, dignity, noble, love, sacrifice and righteousness just to list a few. These and other character qualities are also part of life that needs to be celebrated equally if not more highly than winning. We admire winners and we need to do that. But winning is not all about life. There are other aspects of life that deserve our full pursuit.
LET¡¯S TALK ABOUT LOSING:
1) Losing is always painful: The saying ¡°the atmosphere is better in the locker room when you win¡± is so true. All you need to see is at the end of a football game, the heads and faces of the winners do look higher and brighter than those of the losers. Slogans like ¡°It is all about participation, not about winning¡± and others like that don¡¯t tell the truth. Every one, every team participates to win and when it doesn¡¯t happen, it is painful.
2) Losing is part of the game: This is particularly true in sports competition: when you have many participating individuals or teams to compete with one another, and there is only one winner at the end of the game, losing is inevitable. If we want everyone to be a winner, then there shouldn¡¯t be any competition. But without competition, like in our public school system where everyone is a winner, things won¡¯t get better for sure. We need to recognize that God didn¡¯t create all people the same way and not all people manage their life the same way, it is inevitable that some are winners and others are losers. When there is a winner, in whatever aspect of life, there is a loser.
3) Losing is not the end of the world: No matter in whatever aspect you suffer a loss, life still continues like that of Kenny Perry the pro golfer in the introduction. Life is much more than winning. There are many other elements that are equally important to life as winning. To Mr. Perry, it is his family. We all know that few people, if any, are always losers, like few people are always winners. Winning and losing take turn to all people. Losers in one thing today may be winner in something else another day.
4) Losing may turn to winning: The Chinese saying ¡°Failure is the cradle of success¡± has proven to be true in life. Some losers put extra effort into their endeavor and they become winners later in life. As there is no guarantee anyone would be a winner all his life, the same principle applies to losers as well. Many people demeaned Jesus as a loser when he was hanging on the cross, but ¡°God raised him from the dead and gave him the name above all names and every knee shall bow and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord.¡± (Phil 2:9-11)Things men see as losing, God may turn it to a winning.
CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES ON WINNING AND LOSING:
1) Foundation of Christian perspective: ¡°Since you have been raised with Christ set your heart on thing above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.¡± (3:1)The foundation of Christian perspective on winning and losing doesn¡¯t rest on our old nature of the world, but on our new nature of life in Christ. We, as children of God, were raised from death to the world with Christ, should not measure winning or losing by the worldly perspective but by that of God. Paul stressed this theme many times in his letters to the early churches: Because we are children of God in Christ, we are not to see or value things the old way. In the Greek text, the verb ¡°raised¡± is in associative that means if we were ¡°truly raised¡± with Christ. If we were ¡°truly¡± raised with Christ, we shouldn¡¯t measure winning or losing the worldly way. On the other hand, if we still see winning and losing the worldly way, we need to ask ourselves a question: Am I truly raised with Christ. This is NOT to question our salvation, but to question our life relationship with Christ.
2) Focus of Christian perspective: ¡°Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.¡± (3:2) ¡°Set¡±, phroneite in Greek means ¡°to keep on thinking.¡± Our mindset determines our thoughts and actions. It does matter what occupies our mind all the time and we are responsible for our thoughts. Paul did not mean we should never think of things on earth, but things on earth should never be the focus, aim or goal of our mind and heart. Things on earth should never become the master to occupy our mind and heart. While our feet stand on this earth, our head and eyes must look up to things of God in heaven. If we use the ¡°above¡± or heaven as our perspective on winning or losing, we won¡¯t be bolt down by them. It isn¡¯t that important if we win or lose in something on earth if we focus on things in heaven with God.
3) Security of Christian perspective: ¡°You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.¡± (3:3)When we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we died to this world and were buried with him to all the influence, attraction, pleasure and pursuit of this world. Our new life in Christ is secured, hidden and protected in God. Many Christians don¡¯t have the faith to trust the Lord with their life and all the winning and losing, because they don¡¯t know how secure it is in heaven. Here Paul tells us all of our being life and death are hidden in God with Christ. If Christ can trust God with his life and death, why can¡¯t we trust God like him? Winning or losing, God will handle it all for us in the best of his purpose.
4) Reward of Christian perspective: ¡°When Christ who is our life shall appear, then you shall appear with Him in glory.¡± (3:4)Everyone longs for the glamour, glory and fame of a winner. But no glory of any winner in this world may compare to the glory God will bestow on His Son our Lord Jesus Christ when he returns to earth and we shall be there to share his glory with him. What a wonderful promise of God to us if we can trust him with all aspects of our life including all the winning and losing. His reward is matchless of all.
1) Do your best to the end: ¡°I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.¡± (2 Timothy 3:7) We all admire the persistence of Paul in his Christian walk. It may not about winning all battles, but it certainly is about being faithful and persistence. God never asks us to be champions in everything we do, but he certainly loves to see us persist and faithful in our life and ministries he granted us to serve.
2) Winning the most important: ¡°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.¡± (2 Tim 3:8) That is the winning we all need to pursue and it is the winning that counts. All the crowns, trophies or awards in this world are only temporal but this is the only award that is eternal. Work on it and aim to get it.