Second Place; First Loser

The championship game was incredible. It was clear both teams deserved a spot in the big show. On both sides of the ball it seemed like the offense was perfectly matched by the defense. Ultimately the game ended. One team became national champions. The other went home in second place.

Reporters were gracious to the losing coach after the game. They bragged on the players and asked thoughtful questions about how he might have adjusted his strategy. The coach leaned into the mic, “It was a great game. It’s always an honor to face an opponent that good. But I want to be really clear. We didn’t lose this game. We were simply behind when time ran out.”

Let’s be honest. How many second place teams can you name? Who holds the record for the second longest winning streak in college football? How many presidential candidates can you name that ran for office and lost? I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with a few. The most recent contests will be fresh in our minds, but give it 20 minutes. Second place will soon fade into history as first loser.

Like the coach trying to spin his loss as a could-have-been win how often do we settle for second best? We make excuses. I’m not bad, I’m just not that good. I’m not a loser, I just didn’t win. I’m not rebellious. I just like to do things my own way. I’m not that sinful, nobody’s perfect. We could have been champions, but time ran out. It leads to a question, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?” The challenge that comes next is simple, “Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

How will you run today?

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