‘Spur’ gatherings rally Revs to sharpen each other in servant leadership. There was no sign of the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ head-swelling competition ministers and congregations can easily sink to.
‘Competere’ (Latin), from which ‘competition’ comes, literally means ‘to strive with’ not ‘strive against’, which it has sunk to in modern day understanding. Made in God’s image, might ‘competition’ at its very best be a ‘godly pursuit’, ‘iron sharpening iron’, coached by Christ to love our competitors (neighbours) as an expression of self-love?
How easily Eden’s ‘striving with’ morphs into ‘striving over and against’ both God and fellow humans, ending in murderous competition against God and one another. Ecclesiastes 2:22 describes an anxious striving ‘without God’, “What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labour under the sun?”
Not content to see us cast adrift from his ‘co-operative competing and creativity’, God plans our Salvation and comes in Christ to draft us back into his team & family, to ‘provoke / spur’ each other to be the best we can be in God’s Loving Service. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
God’s co-operative, creative dance ‘perichoresis’ involves Father, Son & Spirit centring and dancing around together, a graceful movement into which we humans are drawn. In Gethsemane, and throughout Christ’s Passion, we glimpse an intimacy with Father God, that we’re all invited to share and enjoy through Christ, in the Spirit’s power. “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18).
At the start of Christ’s ministry, Jesus overcomes 3 wilderness temptations to ‘win at all costs’, aided in strife by angels. Alas, when Jesus looks to his close companions for support in striving towards ultimate sacrifice, they fall short in slumber. However, with Spirit & Father support (Cf. Luke 3:21-22) Jesus overcame sin, death & hell to win our Deliverance and New Life.
Could ‘godly competition’ helpfully describe our shared service in the cause of Christ, bringing out the best in one another, as together we work for the common cause of sharing Jesus’ Love & Good News? There’s much we can do together, which we can’t do apart.
God is unchangeable in nature and it may be beyond orthodoxy to suggest that God ‘strives’ within the Godhead, however in the career of Christ (His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and return) surely we find the Story of all stories to share in. More than that, we’re called to compete (strive together) with one another in the context, culture and clout of Triune God (Father, Son & Spirit), who intends to transform all life and lift competition from its self-centred ‘striving over and against’ into a more godly ‘striving together’?
This ‘Spur’ Gathering I attended truly fulfilled Paul’s call to Competition! “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:27) Godly Competition?