Friday, June 11, 2004
Joey's story really touched me. Joey was a boy who ran in the handicapped Olympics that were held in conjunction with the Seoul Olympics a few years ago, and as it turned out, there were only two in Joey's event. As their track event began, Joey took the lead, leaving his only competitor way behind him. Then Joey suddenly stopped in his tracks. What happened next basically melted the event announcer's heart. Well, and really mine, when I heard about it from someone who was there. When you hear about it, maybe you'll feel like I do. You'll want to be like Joey.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "You Win - I Win."
That day at the handicapped Olympics, young Joey turned around, went back to his lagging opponent, and put his arm around him. Then Joey proceeded to help the other runner to complete the race with him. And they crossed the finish line together, arm in arm, with the other arm raised with one finger saying, "I'm #1!" Well, the audience rose to their feet with a standing ovation, and the announcer said, "It looks like Joey wanted the other guy to be a winner, too." And then, in a surprisingly personal footnote, the announcer said, "I want to be more like Joey."
Well, in a competitive, "I've gotta make it" world, the real heroes are the people who try to make other people winners. We've got a wonderful model of that in our word for today from the Word of God. Acts 9:26 introduces us to Barnabas, who enters the picture as the early Christians are so afraid of the newly reborn persecutor, Saul of Tarsus. They don't even want to welcome him into their fellowship. The Bible say, "When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing he was really a disciple, but Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul has seen the Lord, so Saul stayed with him and moved about freely in Jerusalem speaking boldly in the name of the Lord." Then Acts 11:25 tells us that when Barnabas was involved in a mighty work of God in Antioch, "Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul ... taught great numbers of the people." Notice, Barnabas - then Saul. One more picture tells us a lot about Barnabas. It says, "Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue." Now, up to this point, this "dynamic duo" is identified as Barnabas and Saul, with Barnabas always in the lead. But Barnabas has been pushing Paul to the front. And from this point on, the Bible talks about Paul and Barnabas.
Barnabas was a lot like Joey. He didn't have to come out on top. He just wanted others to win. Are you like that? If so, you're reflecting our ultimate model of a selfless lifestyle, Jesus Himself. When it came to a choice between Him dying for our sin or us dying for our sin, He chose to say, "I want you to win - even if it costs me my life."
Your friends need someone that is unselfish in a world that's "all about me" - someone who is shouting, "You're a winner! Let me help you win!" Your children need for you to be their cheerleader, praising them often for what they do right. At work, at school, at church - will you be the one who pushes other people to the front?
You won't lose if you stop promoting you and start promoting others. You'll both win. Be like your Master. Enable someone else to be a winner. Look at the people close to you and quit trying to beat them, or use them, or control them. Go to them, put your arm around them, take them with you to the finish line, and look at them and say, "Hey, if you win, I win!"