“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
Winning is fun. We all like to win, whether we’re playing a card game, a friendly neighborhood flag football game, or cheering for our favorite sports teams.
But watching our kid’s team win on the field? That’s pretty fun, too. Seeing teammates working together — playing off each other’s strengths or shoring up each other’s weaknesses — and having that result in a successful outcome is a pretty nice way to spend a Saturday.
Sometimes I wonder how many prayers for success have been prayed before a sports event — at any level, from preschool soccer all the way up through the pros. Does God care who wins or who loses? Does it mean He loves me less if the team I prayed for doesn’t win? Of course not. God does care about the things we care about, but He doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t prefer one team or one athlete over another. God has gifted each of us with differing abilities and different athletic capabilities. Some kids “get it” early, and other kids take some time to develop their skill sets. Neither of these scenarios is good or bad, they just are. I think it’s safe to say God cares more about how the athlete handles the win or the loss, than which team actually wins or loses. Is the winner taking the credit for himself, or is he giving it back to the One who allowed him to find success on this day?
Let’s train our kids to be winners who know how to keep things in perspective:
- Be an humble winner. In other words, treat the loser like you would want to be treated after a tough game. Accept congratulations from the other team, but don’t be the one who rubs it in the following week at school.
- Give credit where credit is due. Every win is a team effort. As Bear Bryant said, “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.”
- Don’t mistake success for excellence. Winning the game is great, but don’t get so distracted by victory that you think your work is done. Keep pushing and striving for excellence, every single day.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Our theme verse today points us back to this simple principle. The verse doesn’t say “rejoice if you win,” or “rejoice if things go your way.” No, the verse says the Lord made this day, so let us rejoice — whether we win or lose.