Be a contender

She contends for laurels whilst most of her sex only seek for flowers.
               Mary Wollstonecraft
               of historian Catharine Macaulay (1731‑1791)

If you can ignore the feminist agenda underpinning the work of Mary Wollstonecraft this is a great illustration, to me, of the difference evident in a life that is filled with purpose.

If you ‘contend for laurels’, of course, there’s every chance you might fail.  A laurel wreath is awarded to the victor, and it is most commonly associated with victory in the Olympics, which of course only one person can achieve (in each event).

Yet as Christians we know that the victor’s crown has already been won, by the only person who could ever deserve it – Jesus.  So what are we contending for?

We’re contending for excellence, in what ever area of life God has given you to operate – home, marriage, family, work, culture – strive to do it for the glory of God.

This is the harder way.  The ‘flowers’ of the quote speak to me of pleasantness, beauty, ease.  For some people, a pleasant, easy life seems like a distant dream – they have to ‘contend’ just to keep from drowning.  For others of us, life is fine as it is, and we could easily just drift along quite happily.

I think, though, that this is not the greatest way.  I can’t back this up Biblically, but I suspect that laurel crowns await not those who achieve the most in this world, but those who ‘contend’ the hardest for God’s Kingdom.

Failure is OK in God’s economy, as Dad pointed out in his response to my post last week, it’s better to strive to do something fantastic for God than to never even try because you’re afraid of failing.

It’s odd how often, despite being thousands of miles apart, living in very different continents and life-stages, my brother’s thinking and mine seems to coincide.  Read, for instance, the ‘What-if Challenge‘ he linked to in his blog yesterday (which I read after choosing today’s quote).  I’m enjoying seeing how God’s teaching us similar things in very different contexts and ways!

Happy contending!

No Comments On This Topic
  1. jon
    on Apr 28th at 4:23 am

    Hey there! I’m not sure if this exactly supports what you’re suggesting about the greatest way, but I’m wondering if 1 Corinthians 3:14, 15 is along the same theme as your post… the idea that one can – at the end of the day – have eternal salvation, but see everything that they’ve amassed or invested in go up in smoke. What is the true nature of the building materials we use to construct our lives/existence?

    P.S. Sorry I’m responding a bit behind in posts… I’m just catching up now… 🙂

  2. newsong40
    on Apr 28th at 3:08 pm

    Hey Jon!
    Hmm… good thought. I guess these verses are saying ‘throw yourself into something of eternal value not just something that will make your own life better or more ‘successful’.’

    Thanks for joining in!


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