Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: WIN (02/14/19)
TITLE: Winning at Life
By Joanney Uthe
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I came in second place to Margaret in every area of life. I was usually the second highest scorer on our high school basketball team. Margaret always scored more. In track, she usually won her individual races. I often placed, but seldom won. In band, I was second chair trumpet: Margaret was first.
I worked for two years to buy my first beater car. Margaret's parents gave her a late model car for her 16th birthday. I sat at home or in the corner at school dances. Margaret always had a date.
I graduated salutatorian of our high school class. Guess who was valedictorian? Yep, Margaret.
We may have appeared to be friends, but in reality, I kept Margaret close because I saw her as competition for all things important to me.
Shortly before graduation, I gave my life to Christ. What a difference it made in my life! I wanted to share this treasure with all of my friends. I invited Brenda, Carrie and Denise to Bible Study and church. Then we invited Marie, Sherry, and Donna. There was a mini-revival within my friend group.
But I intentionally never invited Margaret. I finally had something that Margaret did not have. I knew this attitude was wrong, but I had finally won in one area of life where Margaret had not. My pride gloated in this victory.
Our church was planning an outreach for the young adult age group right before everyone left for college. The pastor asked us to think about who we were going to invite and write it on a card that had been handed out. The still, small voice that I was beginning to recognize told me to write Margaret’s name. I didn’t want to, but I found myself doing it.
Three days before the event, I still had not asked Margaret. I tried my best to avoid it, but I again heard that still, small voice telling me to call her.
As I dialed her number, I secretly wished she would not answer. Or, that she would already have plans for the night of the event. I almost prayed for one of those to happen, but knew God would not be reminding me to call her right now if that were true. I made the phone call and was surprised by the excitement in her voice at the invite.
When the pastor finished his message, he gave an invitation and Margaret raised her hand. I inwardly cringed. So much for having this wonderful treasure that Margaret did not have. Soon one of the youth leaders was by our side. She told me that they were short of volunteers and would I be willing to take Margaret into one of the designated prayer rooms and lead her in the prayer? How could I refuse without confessing my own sinful, disobedient heart?
As Margaret confessed her need for Christ, she admitted that she felt the same way about me that I did about her: I was the competition that helped her to be her best. She thanked me for that as she confessed the negative attitude with which she approached it. We cried together as I confessed the same to her. Then we prayed together, asking God for forgiveness for both of us. As Margaret gave her life to Christ, I surrendered another area of mine.
Margaret and I have stayed close over the years. We still help each other to be and do our best, but now we do it with encouragement instead of competition. After one year at the state university, Margaret transferred to a Bible College. There she met a wonderful man with whom she now serves as a missionary in a Central American country. I have the honor of supporting their work through prayer and financial gifts.
Years later, my daughter and Margaret’s son attended the same Bible College and started dating. Next month they will be getting married. I am excited to see my friend again, but even more excited that our kids will be following in Margaret and Bob’s footsteps of winning souls for Christ. They will be serving as missionaries in an undisclosed area of the Middle East.
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