I am like everyone else, when I repeat an activity, I like to do it better than I did the first time. If I ride my bike or run in a race, I want to beat my score. That is the competitive nature within me. It is the way that God created me. I have often said that there is a blessing and curse to every strength God gifts us with. In the area of competition, it can be a curse if you do whatever it takes to win, no matter who you run over in the process. We have all met someone like that before. God does not intend for you to use a competitive spirit for personal gain or to hurt one of his sheep. It is to be used for the glory of God. Now when you help the team win or are driven to become better, that is when it can be a blessing. But let’s bring all of this into perspective.
I was talking to someone today about trying to beat a record in a good way. Sometimes it isn’t always good to beat a record. We specifically talked about Twice Blessed. Every year we have been breaking the previous year’s records in many areas. We have seen that in Upward Basketball in our past history. I believe there are times when trying to get better can blur our vision and purpose. It is exciting to set records, but what about our purpose?
I am so glad that Twice Blessed and Upward is Kingdom driven. There were a lot of “1” moments I call divine appointments. There are stories after stories of how God has used these ministries to bring another “1” home. We always want to put our best foot forward but I always want to keep before us the main reason why we do these ministries. It goes along with our Scripture today.
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Over the years, I have heard the “99” complain because their needs were not being met. Or I have seen churches focus so much on the “99” that they lose sight of their purpose. Don’t get me wrong, it is exciting to have the “99,” but I don’t want to forget the “1.” Sometimes trying to top the numbers from the previous year will get your focus on things the Lord may not want you to be focused on.
I am excited when I hear the stories of the “1” returning home or coming into relationship with Jesus because of the prayer and effort to minister to the “1.” I am so excited that the ministries of our church focus on the “1.” The leadership of Twice Blessed and Upward Basketball both are all about the “1.”
If we want to overdo ourselves, then let’s increase the number of ways in which we plant seeds and prepare the soil for the Lord to move on the “1” He is seeking. We need to do whatever it takes to light up the world with the love of Jesus. When we do, then the transforming power of the resurrection can spread to families in need of a Savior.
Another ministry that is all about the “1” is our ministry to Northview School. I just heard a story from Sharon Dawson about one little girl who was going to graduate to another school because she will advance to the next grade. She is so disappointed because she loves the Bible Club. She even said that she was going to tell all of her friends who are in the grade below her that they need to come to the Bible Club after school. All because of “1.” The Northview School ministry now has 11 children attending the Bible Club. I am so glad we have a church filled with people who care more for the “1” than trying to break another record.
I am looking forward to a great day on Sunday. Come with the anticipation of “1” you have been praying for, showing up and accepting the one who died for them – the name that is above all names – Jesus!
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene