Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story that shows what can be accomplished when instead of just competing against each other, we choose to allow ourselves to be sharpened by one another. Last week at the Women’s Lacrosse World Championships in Ontario, Canada, the Israeli team faced the Kenyans. Though Israel went on to win handily, they noticed that the Kenyan team was at a distinct disadvantage – they were playing on wet grass without cleats. Rather than only focus on winning and moving on to the next team, the Israeli women resolved to help the Kenyans by purchasing them the cleats they needed. The next day, when the Israelis delivered the cleats, the joy amongst the Kenyans was palpable! What’s more, in their next match with their new cleats, the Kenyan women defeated the Belgians 16-9. The camaraderie formed between the two teams shows how competition can truly bring out the best in us when we pursue it with the right mindset.
There is a lot in the world today that tells us we have to win, we have to be better than everyone, and that accepting help is a sign of weakness. It is a competitive world and that will not change. However, competition is not immoral or evil; it is actually very good and healthy! It inspires us to work hard, to grow, to stretch ourselves, and learn to endure. It is only when we allow the enemy to influence our perceptions of competition that it becomes destructive. When we view competition as only a means to defeat others or enrich ourselves at the expense of others, we fail to receive the blessings it can bring. Proverbs tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” God’s view of competition is that it makes everyone better; the enemy’s view is that it only benefits the winner. Today, consider your own motives for competing in life and how you can use your competitive edges to help sharpen others.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17 NIV