Every week we watch NFL games to see who wins and loses. But the last two weeks have given us two games ending in a tie! Teams compete at the highest level for four quarters and overtime…and yet, nobody wins.
The Bengals and Redskins tied at 27 this past Sunday, and the week before that the Seahawks and Cardinals finished 6-6. This was the first time since 1997 that there have been two ties in the same season.
Even though ties are rare, when they happen they are basically despised by everyone. As Herm Edwards famously said, “You play to win the game.”
What are we supposed to do with a tie? We watch sports for the competition, and want to see someone leave in victory and someone go home in defeat. Because we’ve been taught that a tie is a bad thing and someone should always be the winner, a tie leaves us wanting more.
The recent trend of ties in the NFL has driven some people to come up with new ideas to eliminate the outrageous concept of not declaring a team a winner after a game is played. I don’t think you can make much of a case for the benefits of a tie, and most NFL fans are likely in favor of a solution to this dilemma.
With that said, I find that the same mentality of always needing a winner consumes other areas of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, competition is great and I’m not a fan of participation trophies, but isn’t there a point when we can decide it’s okay not to declare a winner?
It might actually be freeing to stop competing over who has the biggest house or the nicest car or the coolest vacation home. Does it really matter that we make a few dollars more to be the highest paid guy in our department at work…or that our church is better than the one down the street?
As sports fans, having a winner is ingrained into our being, and we do whatever we can not to lose…and certainly never tie. But as followers of Jesus, we should work hard and desire to be our best with an awareness of the motives and attitudes we have behind our efforts. Although not easy, I believe we all win when we’re willing to drop the jealousy and the one-up mentality from our lives.
The Bible says in Galatians 5:25-26 (NLT), “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
Maybe the key to battling our competitive spirit is in recognizing we’re on the same team. Instead of placing our efforts towards defeating each other, let’s instead push each other towards having a deeper love and understanding of God. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I admit I’m really competitive and would rather win than tie or lose. However, I pray that You would reveal to me the areas of my life where my competitive spirit is creating a negative effect, and my motives aren’t coming from a good place. I pray that I would realize other followers of Jesus are on the same team, and we should be working together instead of always competing. Please give me the strength to have the right mentality. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.