Written by Ken Cross, Church Mentor at CEDE Partners – an Initiative of CEDE Sports
Winners & Losers
General George Patton famously remarked, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.”
NFL Coach Vince Lombardi: “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
We all want to be on the winning team, don’t we?
Jim Tressel, a professed Christian & head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes wrote a book called The Winner’s Manual. In his chapter ‘Handling Adversity and Success’ Tressel includes this provocative quote from Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: “Success is a lousy teacher. It makes smart people think they can’t lose.” Then he adds his own commentary: “I love that quote because it puts so many things in perspective. When ‘smart people’ think they can’t lose, there’s an upset brewing. That’s when David beats Goliath and the underdog triumphs” (p. 156).
That’s the problem with winners. Once you think you can’t lose, you feel invincible.
Tressell, a highly successful coach himself, proved that lesson in a terrible way – he had to resign in disgrace from coaching.
Coach Bart Lundy, Queens University of Charlotte Basketball coach once said, “some seasons have been improved by a loss” — for all the problems that losing brings, at least it cures the illusion of invincibility.
I believe God prefers people who know their weakness, see their flaws, admit their mistakes, and cry out to him for help.
God specializes in taking losers and displaying his power through them
2 Corinthians 4:7 Is one of the most important verses in the Bible for understanding who we are and how God works through us –
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
We are the fragile jars of clay – God provides the power! I have been asked why so many of the heroes of the Bible had serious flaws. My answer is simple – that’s all God has to work with! All the perfect people are in heaven. The only ones on earth are the folks with serious weaknesses. The talent pool has always been pretty thin when it comes to moral perfection.
Every player and coach loves to win. But will you win at everything? No. Winners think they don’t need God very much. Every Sports Minister, coach and parent needs to remember they are working with fragile pots of clay and God desires to use them for vessels containing his power! But when we see how little we bring to the table, and we lose in life, then the wise ones will ask for help.
“Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner” – is a great start.