Winning and losing l Worship

How the Winter Olympics remind us of values we see in the Bible
By Pastor Jeff Dutra, Mukilteo Foursquare Church | Feb 21, 2018

With just a few days left, we’re nearing the end of the 2018 Winter Olympics from Pyeonchang, South Korea.

There are many things about the Olympics that I love:

The national pride of all the athletes for their respective countries, the sense of camaraderie between team mates, the spirit of competition, and the thrill of victory for those who, at least on that day, proved to be the best in the world at their sport, as they have the honor of standing victoriously on the platform to receive their gold medal.

Being the best and experiencing the thrill of victory doesn’t just happen by chance.

It’s the result of a lot of hard work, passion, a strong competitive spirit, and a commitment to excellence; something that most of these athletes developed at an early age.

I’m no Olympic athlete, but I’ve been involved in athletics my whole life, and I tend to be very competitive by nature.

I love to win, and I have a strong aversion to losing, whether golf, racquetball, bowling, ping pong, or pretty much anything I’m competing in. I’ve just never liked to lose.

However, I like to think that I’ve matured a little through the years, and I can now lose without it actually ruining my day.

That competitive spirit and strong will to win probably has a lot to do with the influence of my dad and all the coaches I’ve had through the years growing up.

I was never the biggest kid on any team I was on. In fact, I was usually one of the smallest.

My dad even had to stuff me full of bananas on weigh in day in order for me to make the minimum weight requirement to play pee wee football when I was 7.

Thankfully, the bananas did the trick, and I was able to play!

I may not have been one of the biggest kids, but what I lacked in size I made up for in heart.

I was always taught to work hard, give my best effort, and strive for victory.

I was also taught whether I win or lose, to be a good sport.

I’ve noticed a trend in recent years to not emphasize winning in a lot of kid’s sports leagues.

In some leagues they don’t even keep score, there are no winners and losers, and there’s no prize for being the champion. At the end of the season everyone just gets a participation trophy.

I understand the reasoning behind it; we don’t want our kids to feel bad because they lost.

However, by not teaching our kids to play to win we are actually removing from them the reward for putting forth a great effort, working hard, and striving to be the best they can be.

We may also be running the risk of raising up a generation of underachievers who are content to just get by in life, when they actually have the potential to become innovators, leaders in the business community, and positive role models who are making a difference in society.

Sports, competitions in the arts, academics, etc. are all opportunities for us to develop within our children the values of discipline, hard work, excellence, and oh yes, FUN!

It’s not about always having to be the best, but it’s about trying to be your personal best at what you do.

Striving to be your best and playing to win are values that we see in the Bible.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24 the Apostle Paul says, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”

We see many other examples in Scripture that talk about the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. Winning and losing is a part of life, and we’ve seen that in this year’s Winter Olympics.

But if we play to win, emphasize good sportsmanship, honesty and integrity, give our best effort at what we do and teach our kids to do the same, no matter what the final score may be, we all win!




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