There is not a week goes by without some sort of sporting scandal. Whether it is officials receiving bribes, athletes getting caught up in a doping scandal, footballers diving or acting like they have been shot when someone goes anywhere near them. The pressure to win at any cost is immense, with often-huge sums of money at stake. We often hear phrases like “It’s not the taking part but the winning that counts” or “wining isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”
Don’t get me wrong, I am very competitive and I always want to win but at times I need to ask myself at what cost? Am I willing to give up my integrity, my credibility or my witness as Christ’s ambassador to simply be declared the winner?
It was so refreshing to read about 24 yr old Ivan Fernandez Anaya, who was lying second in a Spanish cross-country race. The Kenyan leader, Abel Mutai, thought he had crossed the finishing line, and pulled up 10 metres from finishing line. Anaya could have seized his chance, but instead he shepherded Mutai across the line, coming second. He said afterwards that he recognised Mutai as the winner, and didn’t want to exploit an error. Mutai was the winner, but Anaya was the real champion!
I have way more respect for Ivan Fernandez Anaya than I do for any diving footballer or drug cheat athlete. His integrity shines through him and is of great encouragement and also challenge.
What about you? Are you willing to risk your integrity just to win? We are often the only windows of Jesus that many people have, are you up for turning others away from Jesus because you wanted to win at all cost?
The bible reminds us that we will always be found out when we cheat “He who walks in integrity and with moral character walks securely, but he who takes a crooked way will be discovered and punished.” Proverbs 10:9 (Amplified Bible) Is it worth cheating just to win? I don’t think so!
Photo Credit: Abigail Keenan