Who Wins, Really?

“He who dies with the most toys wins.” Someone had embraced the idea to the point of proclaiming it from his rear bumper, his nearsighted worldview trailing along behind him—unsafe at any speed—baiting the gullible wherever he went: “Game on! It’s me against you, Sucker!”

Why do we benchmark our lives to the traits and accomplishments of others, anyway? Instead of savoring our successes or dealing with our difficulties at face value, we evaluate the acceptability of our existence against that of other people. If possessions, achievements or fame tilt in our favor, we go about our merry way in our “life is good” gear, but if we fall short of someone else’s good fortune or their outward signs of success, our narrative nosedives by comparison into, “I lived life and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” And if those around us are winning by cheating, well that’s just plain intolerable.

There is a more peaceful way to live life, and it has everything to do with where we look for validation. “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong,” writes David the psalmist, for our quality of our life is not determined by that of anyone else, least of all “those who carry out their wicked schemes,” whatever form their treachery may take. Instead, David redirects us to God, in whom exists life itself: “Trust in the Lord … Delight yourself in the Lord … Commit your way to the Lord … Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” For God is never against us, but always for us.

If this life were all there was—if death were the finish line of all things—then the materialist motorist, his toys in tow, might be right. But Jesus lives forever, and for all who live in Him by faith, this life is only the beginning. And he who never dies always wins.

Father, my life is safely secure in you through Christ, and you’re all I need. Send your Spirit to remind me to set my sights always and only on you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is life.

Read today’s Scripture in Psalm 37:1-7.