Friday, October 31, 2008



Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him, "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." Mark 10:35-37

When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Mark 35:41


When we moved here, there was a dry-erase board in the garage. I wrote a big WELCOME on it and thought that was good enough.

Apparently not! Kailyn wrote, "Kailyn was here." Then she dated her comment. Matthew, not to be outdone, wrote, "Matt was here." He dated his comment and added, "Now beat that."

Into the picture arrives our daughter Terri. She wrote, "Terri was here." She dated her comments and added, "Now beat that Kailyn."

Kailyn came back with, "Oh, I see how this is going. You two are teaming up against me. But I will win in the end." Again, a date was added.

Matthew was here the other day and he is now in the lead. I hate to tell him, but Kailyn will be here this weekend and he will be behind again.

Friendly competition. Fun? Yes. Two cousins leaving each other notes, with corners being filled in by Matthew's mother.

Friendly competition. Fun? Sometimes. Friendly competition can quickly turn into not-so-friendly competition. Even in church. Do you recognize any of these? -- The person who never misses a Sunday and makes sure everyone knows it. The person who knows all the books of the Bible, in order, and gives you that look (you know "the look") when you are not sure if the book is in the Old or New Testament? The one who learns Scriptures easily and then brags about their ability or worse teases about "your" lack of scripture knowledge. (This last one often happens in youth groups.) Friendly competition? Fun? Sometimes not. Not when competition hurts others. Not when you take the "friendly" out. (Yes, I know about sports and one team has to win, but that is not the kind of competition I am talking about.)

If you read the scripture, you see that even the disciples had this problem. James and John got into competition with the other disciples. They asked Jesus to allow them to "sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." Depending on if you read this account in Mark 10:35-45 or Matthew 20:20-28, James and John's mother got into the act too.

Was their competition friendly? No. James and John caused the other disciples to feel indignant. I am sure they felt hurt. Jealous. Left out. Friendly competition? Fun? Sometimes not.


Do you enjoy competition? Is there a difference between playing to win and friendly competition? Can you do both?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Lord I ask you for so many things. Today I ask you to help me understand the difference between competition and crossing the line. You have given each of us talents, let me use mine as you direct. Let me never look upon my talent as better than another's. Let me never brag about how good I am at this or that. BUT also help me learn that my talents are important. Lord, You created me. You created me. Thank you for giving me the talent of … Amen

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