Do We Have to Lose?

All that’s left of the election on this morning after is a handful of janitors in Chicago and Boston, sweeping up the scattered confetti or packing it away for another day. I realize we live in a world where life pretty much is defined by winning and losing, the victors and the vanquished. But in all candor, wouldn’t it be glorious if we could come up with a way that would excise the sting of defeat from sports and politics and academics and business and church and relationships and life? You say—but that’s simply the way it is on this planet—you win some, you lose some. Perhaps. But “win-some” it isn’t, is it? And besides, who says we have to? After all in a land faraway and a time long ago there once was a Kingdom where there were no losers. Nobody suffered the sting of defeat or the agony of loss, simply because in that Kingdom the rules of the game were that there is no game. Life is simply a glorious opportunity to spend yourself for the sake and success of everyone else. And so because no one set out to win, nobody had to be a loser. From the throne on down, self-giving was the secret of their happiness and the modus operandi of their peace. But you know the story well—the tranquility of that peaceful and contented Kingdom was shattered the day someone made the dark decision that winning is really what matters most, winning at any cost. Which, of course, also meant losing at a very high cost—a cost so high that it eventually cost the Kingdom a lost planet and a dying King. But before He died, Jesus taught the secret of His Kingdom in those radical words, “‘Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and the gospel will save it’” (Mark 8:35 NIV). Given this fallen culture, the King describes life in terms of winning and losing. But did you notice, the way to win is to lose? For “‘whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all’” (Mark 10:43, 44). Gone now the sting of defeat, simply because you refuse to make winning your goal and you choose to make losing yourself in service to others your mission. Why, if every one of us chose to live by Christ’s radical credo, the confetti we’d be sweeping up would always be for someone else.

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