Friday, March 21, 2014

Day 15 of Lent, Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness has begun!

As of this writing, 11th seeded Dayton has already knocked off 6th seeded Ohio State in a rather exciting fashion.  Dayton's Vee Sanford knocked down a shot with 3.8 seconds left on the clock to lift them past the Buckeyes 60-59.  Sorry to rub the salt in the wound of your bracket if you had Ohio State!

The fact that both teams were from Ohio made it all the more exciting because the bigger schools often will not play the smaller in-state schools to prevent just such an outcome.

But that's what makes the tournament exciting - matchups that would never get scheduled, get put together in the NCAA tournament.

As the 68 teams vie for the top spot, I am consistently rooting for the underdog (outside of the Big 12 schools).  I love to see the Davids knock out the Goliaths.  I want to see a 12 or 13 seed go to the Final Four as a Cinderella team.

Competition is a part of our human natures and we can indulge this spirit during the tournament for the next few weekends.  If you filled out a bracket, you can enjoy rooting for the teams and if they lose, you don't have time to cry because there's another game already underway.  And if you win, you are on a high for a few minutes until the next game begins!

Competition can become ugly.  Anyone who has seen a parent get kicked out of a little league game can attest to that.  However, it can also be helpful.  It can spur us on to do better than our rival.  It can allow us to rise above mediocrity or settling for what we've already done.  It can be fun when we enjoy it and don't get too upset when we lose.

Tag, you're it!
Anyone remember the kid in your neighborhood growing up that was a sore loser?  No one ever invited that kid to play - he just kind of showed up and spoiled the fun.

As we look at ourselves during Lent, I don't think we should curb our competitive natures unless they are causing us to see our rivals as less than human.  If we are gracious in the wins and can laugh off the defeats - if we are enjoying ourselves in play, we are sharing in the spirit.

When we seek to gain status over another so that we can lord it over them, we've missed out on what God has in mind for us.  It reminds me of when James and John, the sons of Zebedee, sought to be placed over the other disciples in places of honor.

So enjoy the tournament if that's your thing.  Embrace your competitive nature if it is shaping you to become a better person.  But if you allow it to become your master, you still have some work to do in prayer!

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