Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”
Hebrews 12:1b-2a (NIV)

You can always feel it when it happens. Fall happened, and the signals are everywhere.

The breeze seems a bit more brisk and cool. Our American flag seems to billow with a bit more purpose from its post on the outside of our home.

Major League baseball playoffs are in the midst of their trek toward the fall classic of the World Series. And college football fanatics are hanging on to the hopes of championships even seeing the fallibility of their favorite teams.

This past weekend most of the top-ranked college football teams in the nation won. They showed up, kicked off, ran and passed the football up and down the field for three-plus hours—and won. And for many football fans of those teams their world was still in good shape. Their hopes for a national championship were still intact. Winning is the key, of course—and they won.

Or is winning the key? And whether it is or not, did they really win?

It really depends on why they are doing what they are doing.

For if it’s all about “what they do”—the result, the score, the win, the ultimate championship—then indeed they may have won the game. But what if we look deeper into “why we do it.”

What if there is a bigger picture, a bigger purpose to what they do? What if there is a bigger picture to what we do? What if it is about looking outside ourselves, and making a difference in the lives of others, on the team, and all those who follow them? What about you and me—right where we are?

Then maybe, no matter whether we win or lose—we win. Maybe?

A few years ago the head coach of one team which was knocked out of the college football national championship hunt that year, with a loss late in the year, had this to say about his team’s loss:

The phrase I was taught as a young person is that the soul of a man is exposed when you get hit in the face. I don’t want to over dramatize a loss in football with some of the major issues in life. But the soul of a man isn’t exposed when you pick up a [championship] crystal bowl and put on a championship ring. A lot of people can do that. It’s when you have to rebound from some adversity.”

There you have it, the soul, something deep within us which guides our next step in life. That something inside us—when faced with a future where the end is always unclear—which empowers us to take the next step anyway.

Something inside us which points us outside of ourselves, beyond self, and defines the “why we do it” in everything we do. Something inside us which recognizes the platforms we have been given—whether “top-ranked-teams,” or coaches, parents or business executives, athletes or celebrities, pastors or churches, or people just like you and like me.

That something inside us which begins to shape and direct the steps of our journey and the “why” of our lives and shows up in things like—

  • Doing the right thing even when it may not be in our best interests

  • Lifting lives—directly or by the example of ours—to a brighter day

  • Being a shining light, a positive influence for others in the midst of a the difficult circumstances of our days

  • Raising a next generation of healthy, affirmed, secure and loved children with the confidence and assurance to step out into the unknown of their own futures

  • Glorifying God in everything we say, do and think—winning or losing

  • Fixing our eyes on Christ, Who first showed us the way.

If “what we do” is designed only to win—there will not only be times when we lose—but we also may lose along the way by never becoming all we were meant to be, and at the end of our lives—we will realize that we have ultimately failed.

But if “why we do it” is our guide, then along the way of striving for wins and experiencing losses, we will begin to become all we were created to be. And the impact of our lives will take on an eternal significance.

We will build lives, be an authentic witness in the midst of adversity, make a difference, find the strength we need to persevere to the end, change the world around us, and evoke smile-after-smile from the God Who created us.

Then we will have succeeded—even in the midst of our losses.

I wonder what the “top ranked” teams’ list would look like if measured against that guide? I wonder which teams would be included?

I wonder if it will ever be published that way?

Just something to think about—and do something about—today and everyday for the rest of our lives.

In His Name—Scott

Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.