But you, man of God, pursue righteousness,
devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called
when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tm 6:11-12)
Competition is a part of all of our lives. We seem to have competition hard-wired into our very nature. From the time we are quite young, we are competing. We compete for the attention of our parents, our teachers, and our peers. We compete for the top spot in our classrooms, our clubs, and our teams. We compete for the best pay and position in our places of employment.
Oftentimes, when we compete, we “play dirty”. We may not care who gets hurt in the process. As long as we get what we want, things just do not seem to matter.
However, today, we are reminded about another kind of competition to which we have been called: the faith.
When we compete for the faith, we should be noble, righteous, upstanding people. We should not engage in the kinds of tactics we employ when we compete in other situations. Yet, sometimes, we do. We become jealous or envious of others who may appear “more blessed” to us. We want God to hear our prayers, even at the expense of attending to someone else who may be in more dire need.
That is not the kind of people we are called to be, however. When we compete well for the faith, we are to strive to become the best follower of Christ that is possible. We need to do more to serve the poor and the needy. We need to shift our prayer from that of constantly nagging the Lord to that of giving constant thanks to God. We need to look out for the welfare and benefit of all people rather than focusing solely on ourselves.
These are things that go against our human nature. In many ways, that is exactly what a Christian is supposed to be all about. We are called to be counter-cultural. We are called to eschew the ways of the world and to show the world that the ways of the Lord are far more preferable.
If we are to compete well for the faith, we are going to change our goals. No longer will we be grasping people, dedicating our lives to getting ahead here on earth. Rather, we will be people who do all in our power to make sure that everyone knows about the invitation of God to live with Him for all eternity.
When we make it to the finish line, we will be asked how many people’s lives we have touched, how many people we have brought with us. If we have competed well, we will not cross that finish line alone. We will have a host of others joining us.
If we do that, we will see one incredibly happy Lord.
We have made our noble professions of faith many times in our lives, especially at important sacrament moments. Let those professions not be mere words. Instead, let them be blueprints for lives dedicated to God.
FAITH ACTION: Do you know someone who is struggling in the faith. Reach out to the person today. Help them to live the faith better. Show them the care and compassion of God by your care and compassion.