I want to be the best—at honoring others
By Jessica Brodie
I’m not sure anyone really likes playing board games with me because, well, I usually win. Or at least that’s my goal.
I’m not necessarily in-your-face, over-the-top competitive about it, but when I play, I play to win. So I sit silently strategizing, watching people make their moves, then sweep in for the kill. You got Boardwalk in Monopoly? No problem—I’ve got the yellows, the oranges, and the greens. You got a super-high word in Scrabble? Just you wait.
My kids are a bit competitive, too: Who scored the most in the video game? Who did the best cartwheel? Who got the highest grade on the report card?
But here’s the thing—none of this really matters. I’m not going to get some grand prize in Monopoly or Scrabble when I die. My kids might get a college scholarship for their grades, but it’s not going to land them a job or help them keep it.
And speaking of jobs, it doesn’t really matter how many awards I win or whether I achieved my goals or boosted my sales—what matters is did I do my job well? Did I do what I was supposed to be doing? And did I do it in a godly and loving way?
See, being “the best” is a falsehood. I can work with all my might at being the best at whatever earthly pursuit I choose, but it’s not going to matter. What matters is what I did for Christ. Said another way, who cares if my name is famous? What really matters is making Jesus’s name famous.
The people of 2,000 years ago were just as competitive as we can be today. Perhaps that’s why Jesus’s words about the first being last and last being first struck such a chord (Matthew 19:20 and 20:16). The apostle Paul, in his writings to the early Christians in Corinth, compare striving for the Kingdom of God with running a race, urging us to “run to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24 CEB), but even Paul knew it’s a race we can’t win no matter how hard we try. Later, in his letter to the Roman Christians, Paul softens that battle cry: Don’t think you’re better than anyone else. Cling to good and resist evil. And when it comes to being the best, “Be the best at showing honor to each other” (Romans 12:10 CEB).
Now that’s humbling.
We love God when we love others. Why, then, are we spinning our wheels trying to be the best at anything other than loving each other? Tied up in love is the concept of honor. When we honor somebody, we show them deference. We show them respect. We are in effect saying they matter. We put them before ourselves.
Let’s do as Paul says. Let’s be the best honoring others. At loving others.
And at honoring and loving God.