“What if I’d come in last?”
I was stumped.
“Why do ask that? You did so well. We’re so proud of you!”
“I’m just saying- what if I came in last? Would it make a difference?”
One day before your race, we’d received epic news- that after 9 years of ploughing, you’d passed your thesis in your Masters of Theology with flying colors.
“Well-written, inspiring, filled with truths every parent should follow,” were the grader’s comments.
The timing was no coincidence— God was using your birthday, the triathlon race, and thesis grade announcement to affirm who you are- precious.
Yet, deep down, still lay a longing to know- “What am I being celebrated for? My works or who I am?”
Our world keeps telling us- dream bigger, reach higher. Yet, are these messages biblical?
I am relieved that if I look into God’s word, what He requires of us is not better qualifications, or higher accolades. He does not want our shiny medals.
All He wants is our mustard-seed sized faith… five loaves, two fish, two copper coins. But He also demands everything. Such is that paradox.
I am learning- that while man might look at our achievements and awards, God looks at a man like Cliff and smiles down- because it was not his achieving the Masters of Divinity that earned His pleasure, but his faithfulness to plough through it, even in his lonely stay-at-home-dad-season.
It was not Cliff’s coming in 4th in the triathlon that gave God delight, but simply his joy to do it for Him, to race hard and give his 100%, to celebrate God’s gift of life to him.
Col 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.“
If you’re struggling with your everyday drudgery of work and ordinary living, know this- God doesn’t care if you come in first, fourth or last. He cares that you’re faithful. He cares that deep down, you harbor a delight in Him because of a relationship you have with Him.
That’s the real race won.
“You’re a winner in our eyes, Cliff. 100%.”