My new book Sons and Daughters just released and I love the conversations that have started, especially from this chapter that I call “Fake Trophies”.
My daughter, Callie, played soccer this year on a recreational team that got “rode like a rented mule” every Saturday for four months straight. Callie is a fairly competitive kid and played well during practices and games, but not everyone shared her zest for the sport. In fact, based on empirical evidence, I can say that there were girls on her team who didn’t even know there was a ball on the field.
At the end of the season, Callie and her teammates were invited to a pizza party, along with all of the other teams in her league. The coaches made a big deal about the girls’ involvement and then proceeded to hand out trophies to each and every girl. Regardless of whether she was part of a winning team or a losing team, regardless of whether she dribbled like a pro or ever even made contact with the ball, every single player received a trophy—the same trophy as everyone else.
I think there’s a correlation here, between this ubiquitous sheltered existence and the fact that we’ve got a rash of twenty-somethings still living in their parents’ basements, with no plans to leave, no plans to achieve, and nothing but time on their hands. They were never challenged as kids, they never learned how to compete, and they’ve never been forced to recover from failure. Now they find themselves aimless and passionless and weak, while we shake our heads in disbelief.
Between the years 1940 and 1970, as a country we sent people into space, we invented computers, we created suburbia, and we revolutionized automobile technology. This was a generation that had endured a world war, had been challenged in combat, and had parents who had survived the Great Depression or had survived the Depression themselves. Competition was a celebrated part of the culture, and winning and losing mattered deeply. Heroes were honored for their victories, and grace was disbursed to the defeated. Losers learned tough lessons, and winners had to practice harder to stay on top. It was an age of innovation and persistence in the face of challenge and turmoil and angst. And every member of that generation was better for having prevailed. They understood the value of improving and overcoming. They didn’t need fake trophies to prop themselves up. Hard work was deeply honored, as opposed to mere limp participation.
This is just an excerpt from this chapter. Read the entire book and then let me know your thoughts.
October 11, 2012 at 5:09 am
Even trophies as an end of accomplishment has a certain hollowness that perhaps might be worth discussion.
According to Emerson, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.”
Why is it that I might adopt or set free another, the unworthy, or even more generally, do the right thing?
Is it so I can get a trophy, be recognized on a grand stage, be wearing the bling of a jewel in a celestial crown?
Or is it simply that I too want to see all be sons and daughters? That I see the face of Christ in the least of these?
When I say I follow Christ, how is this related? What was His seed and source of motivation?
While, yes, the Lamb does sit on the Throne, was that lofty position His goal, His end to which the rest was mere means?
And when it is said that I might rule and reign with this kind of King, in a Kingdom where all might be children, heirs, co-heirs with Christ, what might this be like?
How does our motivation–our heart–relate to knowing the heart of God and being enraptured by the Gospel itself?
Oh Paul, I know you run the race to win the prize and tend to boast here and there, but also, you ask what *is* your reward? Is reward that you may offer the Gospel free of charge, yet live in such a way so not make full use of your rights of sonship?
Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
October 11, 2012 at 7:24 am
This “everybody gets a trophy” DISEASE has crippled an entire generation in our culture! Thank you Pastor Brady for speaking out boldly about it! We see the symptoms today, particularly in our young males, far too many of whom have grown up with the expectation that a comfortable suburban life will be given to them (via parents or government). The desire to compete/achieve for themselves, their future wives & families, and their communities, is slipping away. Can it be restored?