This has been a week of contests: the San Francisco Giants defeat the Texas Rangers to win the coveted World Series; Jerry Brown triumphed over Meg Whitman to become governor of California; Barbara Boxer, Gavin Newsom, Harry Reid—all winners! And their opponents—are they all losers? Well, of course no one would say that losing a game or a political competition makes you a ‘loser’—meaning a failure in modern-day vernacular—any more than winning a competition makes you a winner—a person of good fortune and character. Perhaps this is an opportunity to remind ourselves of what really matters in God’s economy.
Perhaps we could paraphrase Jesus words in Matthew 19:30: "many that are winners shall be losers, and the losers shall be the winners." More to the point, Jesus said: “If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Mat. 16:25-26)
Power-hungry politicians or glory-seeking athletes may win the contests of this world but still be losers in the Kingdom of God. And it is all too easy for we who are Evangelical Christians to adapt to this view of winners and losers. Who has never thought to himself that the pastor who has a large congregation and a national radio program is more successful than the pastor with a flock of fifty? In the end “God will open wide the gates of heaven for them,” with the rewarding words: "Well done my good and faithful servant": winners all! (2 Pet. 1:11; Mat. 25:23)