From Spinning to Winning

I had to get those shoes!
A friend of mine works at a small-town second-hand clothing store, and she passed along to me that there was a cute pair of shoes on the shelves there that I would probably like. Now most of you are aware that I love shoes! There’s just something about wearing something new and fun on your feet that puts a spring in your step and brightens your day. So as I was saying, I had to get those shoes!
So on Saturday morning, I made my way to the shop downtown, envisioning how perfectly those shoes would complement my outfit for the following day. I wasn’t going to leave that store until I had those shoes in hand. But to my disappointment, the store proprietor could not find the pair of shoes I described. I even texted my friend, hoping I could get some clarification on these shoes she had recommended I buy. But no amount of clarification helped the proprietor and I find the elusive pair of shoes.
Needless to say, I left the store with two cardigans but no shoes. I hated to admit it, but at first, it kind of ruined my day. I was so looking forward to seeing the potential in those shoes and what they could add to my Sunday dress. I spent the rest of the day moping around the house, watching a little TV but really doing nothing at all. I am embarrassed to admit that a pair of shoes, or lack-there-of, brought me down to such a degree.
It was as if the service at church the following day was intended solely for me. I led worship to start things off that morning and then settled in to hear testimonies from a mission team that had recently served in Haiti. The group shared that they had spent the first part of their trip disappointed that God had had not been moving as powerfully as they had expected. They had started their trip with high expectations and those expectations just weren’t being met. So the group prayed and asked that He would show each person the purpose or reason they were sent to Haiti.
In his sermon, Pastor Tim shared a meditation from Isaiah 55. “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:2). He shared that the Christians in Haiti do not have much on a material level but that they are rich in faith and love. Joy abounds among the Christians in Haiti, and he challenged us at FRC to consider the things we buy and consume that offer little or no eternal value. I thought of my fruitless pursuit of shoes the day before. I had followed up my visit to the clothing store with yet another grocery store run. I really didn’t need anything, but I wanted something specific for supper and I figured I might as well pick it up. By the time I returned home that afternoon, I had a bag of food that I could have lived without and a disappointed mindset since I was minus the coveted shoes.
What had I gained that day? Well, in literal terms I bought what I thought I needed. But in spiritual terms, I was empty and searching for something deeper and greater. Who needed new shoes or something special for dinner to make her day complete? Apparently, I did. But in the end, I felt guilty, hollow, and empty. It was inspiring to hear about the mission team’s trip to Haiti. It put everything into perspective for me as I considered how I had just been spinning through life. I don’t have a lot of money, but still, if I want something on a reasonable level, I can obtain it— food, the necessities, cleaning supplies, and even a pair of shoes. The people in Haiti don’t have those luxuries, yet, the Christians there are living their lives with eternal purpose.
Our privileged American culture has taught us that we can get anything we want whenever we want it. Commercials and advertising attest to this. In fact, the Superbowl media hype tapped into this as well. Of course, everyone who plays for an NFL team wants that Superbowl ring. After all, the only reason to play all season is to make your way to the biggest championship football offers. To win that championship is even more of a goal and honor. I saw my Green Bay Packers win the Superbowl two times in my lifetime, and let me tell you, its an amazing experience to be able to root your team on to greatness.
But what if you were an NFL player who only sought to play for Jesus and winning the Superbowl really didn’t matter? Well, such was the case for a few Seattle Seahawks players and their coach. When interviewed by Pastor Mark Driscoll, these teammates articulated that Jesus was “better than the Superbowl.” Yes, winning the Superbowl would be an incredible experience, but when compared with the treasure of knowing Jesus, an NFL championship win would pale in comparison.
I will never be able to be a part of winning a Superbowl or even participate in the Olympics, but I guess I would have to say that my level of comparison would come in obtaining a record deal. I wonder if I could echo the sentiments of the Seattle Seahawks and say that knowing Jesus is better than any record deal or publishing contract. In leading worship at FRC, I have gotten a small taste of this reality, and I am starting to see that, yes, knowing Jesus is better than what the world sets apart as greatness.
So now that I consider my weekend episode with the shoes, I place everything back into perspective. If Jesus is better than a Superbowl, better than a record deal or publishing contract, and better than the “stuff” of this world, then my shoes are of little consequence. I want to stop spinning and toiling for things that do not satisfy and instead focus on winning. No, I’m not talking about winning a football championship here. I’m talking about pressing on toward the goal to win the prize (Philippians 3:14). The goal is Christ Jesus and nothing else could ever come close in comparison.

One thought on “From Spinning to Winning

  1. Hi there! I finally figured out how to navigate my brothers computer but my chin is on the desk since I can’t raise his chair up, funny picture huh!! Anyway thanks for always putting things in perspective for us dear! It is beautiful here and I just spent 2 hrs. by the pool with Jesus & my Journey homework, what a blessing! My brother and Dave are off to one of his rental properties doing some repairs so I was glad for my Jesus time:)!! Hi to everyone, going to take a walk, love ya Mama Dori

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