This commercial expresses great truth about competition, reward, and the fact that some teams and players perform better than others (on a particular day). The spirit of competition necessarily involves some winning and some losing. Those who “lose” need to lose with grace and with honest words of congratulations to the winners. Those who win need to show humility and kindness to those who lose. Just like in the NFL. Not.
The victory dances in the end zone by some NFL players are ridiculous. I heard of one coach who pulled a player aside after his taunting two-step in the end zone and said, “Son, it would be nice if you acted like you had been in the end zone at least once before!”
The Bible emphasizes more than participation in the Christian life. It demands our best efforts at competing, not against one another, but against our less-than-thoroughly committed selves. Paul declares in Philippians 3 – “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (v. 14).
I Corinthians 9 has much to say about competing — and winning:
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Cor. 9)
Our lives should be dedicated to WINNING others to Christ (vv. 19ff). We need to be flexible to win Jews, to those under the law, to those not having the law, to the weak. “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (v. 22). [I’m afraid that for many Christians the motto is, “I have become a few things to a couple of people, that I might not be inconvenienced.”]
He then moves to the image of a runner. All the runners run (participate), but “only one gets the prize” (v. 24). “Run in such a way as GET THE PRIZE.” (v. 24).
Those competing in the games go into strict training to get a non-lasting crown. We should go into strict training to get an everlasting crown (v. 25).
We should not run like someone running aimlessly, not fight like a boxer who is punching thin air. No, we must gain mastery over ourselves and not get disqualified for the prize (v. 27).
We need to know our goal, aim at our target, go into strict training, and live for that great reward: Christ’s words “Well-done, good and faithful servant!”