These are pretty good days for Missouri sports fans. The St. Louis Cardinals are up 2-0 in the National League Championship Series, this after posting the best record in the NL this year. The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated. The Missouri Tigers are undefeated (and better move way up in the rankings after their defeat of the #7 Georgia Bulldogs this weekend). Even the St. Louis Blues are undefeated at this early stage of the season (that's NHL, hockey, for those who are only into the "big three" sports).
And this weekend was pretty good as well. Every Missouri team won, even our poor St. Louis Rams. So you'd think a guy would be happy. You'd think the sports nut in me would be content. And yet...
It's been awhile since I've talked about it, and I've really been doing much, much better in the last couple years; but for awhile I had a real NASCAR addiction. Obsessed might not be too strong a word. We did away with our satellite several years ago, so that helped; I don't get to see many races any more. But I still follow it. And I still root for my driver, Jeff Gordon.
Now, I won't go into all the details of the championship race this year. Those who care, know; those who don't care, don't want to know. Anyway, this weekend wasn't so bad for the 24 team either. Jeff qualified 1st for Saturday night's race in Charlotte. And all in all he had a good night. He finished 7th. Unfortunately, he finished behind the three guys he's battling for the championship, and so he lost ground in the big picture. And so I was a little down.
Sad, isn't it? All my other teams won this weekend. Can't remember the last time that happened. For a sports fan, this was a great weekend, and my teams are having great seasons. The fact that Jeff is even in the championship hunt is a miracle. But I was a little disappointed because he didn't win on Saturday.
Now, what's the point? (other than the fact that I'm a pretty pathetic whiner when it comes to sports) Simply this: as human beings, we're often a pretty dissatisfied lot, aren't we? If we want ten things to go right, and nine of them do, we often spend more energy focusing on the tenth thing, the one that went wrong. I know not everyone is like this. I know there are the Pollyannas out there who are always chipper and happy and...yuck. But most of us are like this, even if only from time to time.
Same way in the church. We have been given the ultimate victory, the ultimate gift...salvation. We have been given forgiveness when we deserved wrath. We've been offered life when we deserve death. We have been given Christ! What a joy. What a blessing. With Christ we have everything and without Him we have nothing; so we have been given everything. And yet...
We're dissatisfied with some aspect of life. We're disappointed because God didn't do this thing the way we wanted. We don't like the way our church does this or that. We are unhappy about this or that person. Sad. Instead of having joy over the ultimate victory in Christ, we're disappointed because things don't always go our way. Even if they still go mostly our way. Instead of satisfaction because of the nine things, we whine about the tenth.
I understand that this is a largely Western church problem. In places where daily survival isn't a given, in places where the mere confession of Christ puts your life at risk, I don't imagine too many folks are down and out about the kind of music we sing in church or the struggles we're having with one of two or three cars. Priorities are a bit different for those folks.
And they should be for the rest of us as well. Christ is all. In Him I should be satisfied. In Him I should rejoice regardless of anything else in life. O God, give me that satisfaction! Give me that joy! Let me truly see Christ as my all in all.
And if I find myself getting upset because ALL my teams didn't win, let me get a little bit of that Pollyanna (or maybe Apostle Paul) in me and rejoice anyway. At the very least, help me not to whine. Maybe I need to sing Ross King's kid's song...
When I have bad days
Sad days, make me mad days
I don't get my way
I wanna cry and lose my temper
But then I stop and smile
And try to remember that
No one likes to hear the sound of whining
Whining makes you want to plug your ears and run away
Everything sounds better when you're smiling
So no more whining today.