Great Plains Daily Devotional for 3/10/2022

Today please be in prayer for

Buhler UMC
Hutchinson District
Bushton: First UMC
Claflin UMC
Hutchinson District
Ellinwood UMC
Salem (Bushton) UMC
Hutchinson District
Ellsworth: First UMC
First Presbyterian Church of Wilson
Kanopolis UMC
Wilson UMC
Hutchinson District

Today's Lectionary Text

Mark 8:34-36

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?
 

Today's Devotional

Many of us will relate to Peter’s and the other disciples’ dilemma with what Jesus is teaching them when it comes to winning and losing; to gain or loss. For Jesus teaches just about the exact opposite of what most of us are geared to believe. I know in my own life, I have followed many sports and I love my teams and favorite athletes. However, I like them best when they win. A lot changed for me when I read a book by Pat Conroy called “My Losing Season.” Conroy is the author of many books, most of which were fictional (such as “The Prince of Tides”), whereasMy Losing Season” is autobiographical. All of his books have dealt with his life growing up with an abusive father who was a career Marine. “My Losing Season” is about Conroy’s own journey into the Marines by attending the Citadel, which is perhaps the toughest military college in America. Pat attended The Citadel on academic scholarship, but he walked onto and made the basketball team and became a scholarship athlete his sophomore year. The book tells the story of his senior year on the basketball team, a team many thought would win their conference and go to the NCAA playoffs. However, Conroy’s team finished with an 8-17 record. This losing season depressed Conroy, infuriated his coach and irritated Conroy’s domineering father, the alumni and the sports media. As in almost all sports, everyone loves a winner.

Conroy’s book challenges this kind of thinking, and through his losing season, he comes to grips with his troubled life and his abused upbringing. Pat Conroy speaks very eloquently in his book’s concluding chapter: “Winning makes you think that you will always get the girl, land the job, or get the promotion, and you become accustomed to a life of answered prayers. Loss, however, is a more fierce and uncompromising teacher. Loss understands that life is more of a dilemma than a game, and more trial than free pass. It is loss that sustained me through the stormy passages of life. Though I learned some things in the games we won, I learned much more from the losses. Winning is nice, but no one wins all the time and when loss comes in life, which it will, you are unprepared and devastated.”

I wish I had read this book earlier in my life, for it illuminates scripture for me and may have helped me process loss after leading a life where I thought I would never lose - in my work, my family, in politics and even in church. I am thankful for Pat Conroy’s story and for Jesus’ teachings: “those who seek to gain their life will lose it; those who would be first must be last.”

-Rev.Galen Wray
Retired

gwray@greatplainsumc.org
 

Prayer for Reflection

Almighty God, throughout history, your children have expected you to deliver victory in our terms in all circumstances. Help us embrace Jesus’ message and may each of us be sustained by a God who is with us, not only when we win, but who is with us in our losses. Amen.
 
 

 

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