Monday, August 3, 2009

It's the being, not being the best

I know the following statements or similar to this are familiar:
“Do your best”
“Aim higher”
“Go for goal”
“Bring home the bacon”
“Strive for excellence”
These statements are trying to say one thing: to give our best. To give our best is not wrong. In fact, the Bible even said that Christians should be “always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Corinthians 15:58). Another Bible verse even said “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”. It means giving your best. After all, the reason why we have these conveniences nowadays like cellphone, internet, and other gadgets were made by people who poured their brain, time, and energy to do those stuff.

However, there is a downside on this. Here’s an example: few weeks ago or maybe a month ago (I forgot), I watched a famous reality competition The Amazing Race. In that competition, there’s a place in which you’ll see a Yield sign. You’ll see all the pictures of the people competing. You can choose which pictures to put on the yield sign. When you put that team’s picture on the yield sign, that team, when they reach the yield sign must stop for 30 minutes. They will not be allowed to race for 30 minutes, thus, wasting their precious time. The team who was yielded was slightly angry to them, one of the team members call them “scums” on international TV. When interviewed, the team who yielded the yield sign just said, “it’s a competition.”. You know what? It’s true. It’s just a competition. That’s the point: just a competition.

People will bite tooth and nail just to aim high. There are people that, because of their competitive spirit, they will literally use people and not dare converse sincerely and warmly the people whom she sees as either a threat or someone not sensible enough to be a benefit to him/her.

Sometimes, you’ll see this even in church youth groups. In order to boost the youth program, groups will have games and contests. If you are a leader, and your team wins the games and contests most of the time or even once, chances are, youth members will surely be more than eager to be a youth member under you. On the other hand, if you are a youth leader and you’re a typical cellar dweller, youth members will not like to be a part of your team. After all, John Maxwell said (if I’m not mistaken), “everybody loves a winner.”

Am I saying that giving your best is wrong? NO. What I am trying to say is giving your best, especially as a Christian, is not enough. Especially if you’re saying that you’re serving God, aside from giving your best, giving your best must be accompanied by “being”. What being? Being good. For example, Bobby Jones, of Philadelphia 76ers, was one of the great defensive players in the NBA. He gives his best, even considering it un-Christian not to give your best. Now, here’s the best part: he plays clean and honest defense. He doesn’t resort on dirty tactics to defend. He uses hard work. In other words, HONEST defense. He gave his best, making him one of the great defensive players, without playing dirty.

After a game or competition, for example, after exhorting your effort, after giving your best, have you used people as means to your end? Have you stepped on other people just to be on top? Even if you did it unintentionally (this is what I keep on mentioning, no matter how hard you try to be good and acceptable, at the end of the day, you’ll still be under God’s grace because there are times you commit sin unintentionally). This is the reason why lower, middle, and higher managers need to go to Bible conferences and/or family outings and to a venue that you’ll appreciate the beauty of nature. This is for them to be reminded that being competitive is not enough. Giving your best is not enough, it should be accompanied by being Christian. After all, before Jesus commanded you to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, you used to be an unbeliever. Before you were called to serve, God saved you first, He changed your being; He changed you (from sinner to saint, from death to life, from darkness into light).

My point? Being the best is not enough, it should be accompanied with character and good values.

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