Why Major in the Minors?
Nobody likes to be upstaged. But that’s what happened to Gracie Laney this week in a track meet at Logan High School, in Logan, Utah. Gracie was the last runner in a relay race. It was a close race. But Gracie’s team was in the lead and Gracie was determined not to lose it.
But just as Gracie took the baton and sprinted with all her might, another runner came from way behind and began to close the gap with her. The other runner, named Holly, charged forward and easily overtook Gracie just before the finish line.
But Gracie, not Holly, was declared the winner. Why? Because Holly wasn’t an official participant in the race. In fact, Holly wasn’t even a human being. She was a feisty golden doodle pup who, according to her owner, “loves to run” and wasn’t content being a spectator at a race.
Gracie, along with the rest of her team, was declared the winner. Actually, Holly caused Gracie a bit of concern. As the little dog came up behind her the crowd began to cheer, making Gracie believe a “real” runner was about to pass her. She breathed a sigh of relief to see it was only a dog.
Of course, Holly the dog is a “real” runner. And her intrusion into this human relay race was a reminder to the spectators that – in the full spectrum of the Animal Kingdom – human beings are not all that great at running. It’s all fine as long as we only compete with other humans. But bring in a dog, a gazelle, or a cheetah, and we are hopelessly outclassed. People are simply not that great at physical feats of strength and skill.
If only we could all come to grips with this. Our specialties as human beings do not lie in physical running, jumping, lifting, and fighting. God created us to be thinkers, creators, lovers, and worshippers. He made us to do things which the strongest and fastest animals cannot do.
God gave us the capacity to think, inquire, research, and analyze. He gave us the power to empathize with others, to place ourselves in other people’s suffering, and to feel compassion for them and show kindness to them. God gave us the capacity to create art, compose music and literature, devise inventions, and to progress in our knowledge.
But humanity’s greatest attribute lies in the fact that they are made in God’s image. And they are all capable of imitating their heavenly Father. That’s what Paul told us. He said, “Be imitators of God as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1). Therefore, God commands us to be holy, for He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). And Jesus told us to love and to show mercy as God does. He said, “But love your enemies and lend to others without expecting anything in return. Then your reward will be great and you will be sons of the Most High. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:35-36). That’s where we can reach our greatest potential – in being like our heavenly Father.
I don’t mean to discredit athletic performance. We should continue to pursue it. But let’s not major in the minors. Let’s excel at what God created us for. Let’s know God personally. Let’s love Him and worship Him – things that mere animals cannot do. Let’s be like our heavenly Father in our treatment of one another and be instruments of God’s love, kindness, and forgiveness. Only then will we reach the purpose for which He created us.
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, open my eyes to the greater purpose You have for me and help me to fulfill it. Please make me an instrument of Your peace, love, healing, and salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.