Lillyann is four and getting her first taste of competition as she learns to play soccer. Yesterday, at practice, she didn’t take the ball away once and told her mommy on the ride home, ” I don’t like taking…I love everyone and it’s not nice to take!” Would that the world had her attitude about playing together and that her attitude would extend to sharing toys:) We teach children to play nicely and then tell them it’s okay to forget those rules when competing. All’s fair in love and war applies to sports and to worship.
Christians, unfortunately, fall into the same patterns of competing against one another rather than coming together in completing the work Christ began. What should be a loving encounter becomes a fierce competition. I’ve been in groups that focused upon who’s doing the most and working the hardest. Fighting about who’s in charge and who has control takes the focus away from God. The need to be right or in control turns hearts from completing to competing.
I’ve left gatherings feeling just like little Lillyann felt after her soccer practice. Love is lost in competition, but the great news is that it’s found in completion. Last night, I felt a beautiful sense of completion as I sat with a group of women ranging in age from nineteen to ninety-one. There was a powerful connection that gave me a beautiful taste of heaven. Each of us was on a different journey, but we paused for a moment to share our journeys, our love for God, and our love for one another. He was in charge of the meeting, and that completed in a way that helped us move forward, fueled by the love we shared.
Love is about celebrating our differences while sharing our common love of God. It is expressed and experienced differently. Sharing love isn’t about determining who is loving the right way or the most. No two children are alike, and that is often the source of competition within families. Those differences can be seen as a source of division, or they can become the basis for completion. The choice is up to us. God’s family will only be complete when we turn from competing to completing. That requires loving in a way that radically differs from the world. Christ changes my definition of father, home, and family. That changes the way I love and allow myself to be loved.
I am not capable of loving or accepting love as God desires on my own. Christ knows competition is the greatest enemy of wholeness, so He makes sure I have the help I need to move from competing to completing. I wonder how my life and the lives of all Christians would look if we forgot about competing and let God’s love complete as we share it openly and honestly with one another and the world. The glimpse I got last night made me want more, and I pray I will live out God’s love in a way that makes others want the same.