Winning or Losing? 12/3/23

Dec. 2, 2023


For you “non-sports fans,” last Saturday was THE Game in college football. In the final game of the regular season in the Big 10 Conference – Michigan always plays THE Ohio State.  

The rivalry began in 1897 – a mere 32 years after the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination.  It’s a thing.  This year’s game was the most watched college football game in quite a while.

Before the game, news outlets in one way or another hype up the game by stating that “Winning this game is everything.”  

“Winning is everything” has become a mantra in our world. It is the rhythmical drumbeat vibrating throughout sports, politics, work, relationships, or even education. The desire to achieve; indifference to who gets hurt; ignorance of God’s will and Word; and the ever-burning sense of discontentment.

Too often, however, this mantra leads to its logical conclusion – “Win at all costs!”   A coach whose team has lost 8 straight games against their rival or even 17 out of the last 22 games may be driven to cut corners, cheat, and then let someone else take the fall when the cheating is discovered, and even encourage players to follow the same pattern of putting winning above character. Similar scenarios are repeated daily across the entire sports landscape. You can even find in it small, private schools.  Fan bases are more than willing to ignore the facts, excuse them away, and celebrate their team’s “win” because “Winning is everything.”

It’s no surprise when trillions of dollars are at stake through conference payments, TV rights, gambling, and now the NIL for college players.  Officials who are fallible human beings can be unduly or illegally “influenced” to affect outcomes or to manipulate betting lines by missing calls, overturning calls, or even refusing to overturn wrong calls.  “Win at all costs.”  

College players who don’t even have to attend classes; school boosters who make donations to family members or give high-paying jobs/positions; and players who “manipulate” their own performance; “Win at all costs”  – the beat drums on.

With another election looming, the phrase “win the election or presidency” will be repeated ad nauseam. One year from now, many will be sick with anger because their candidate didn’t “win.”  And yes, trillions of dollars are at stake, and manipulation and influence are just as much at play.

God’s Word guides us to an opposing mantra – “Lose everything” for His sake. Our own life, success, achievements, and even family have to be less important to us than following God and doing His will.

Matthew 16:24-26 – “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  Luke 14:25-27

Our mantra is to be “Following God is everything.” This mantra leads to the logical conclusion, “Winning is nothing,” and can bring a life of great contentment and peace.