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South Texas Living

A competitive life

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February 3, 2016 | 1,703 views | Post a comment

Time has a way of slip-slipping away and in the light of Super Bowl 50, I found myself cruising a nostalgic highway of daydreams a few times of late. Hindsight, being the exact science that it is, always leads to the thought, “If I had only known then what I know now” and the imagery of all the passed-up opportunities that had drifted in and out of my life.

In 1957, ten years post-World War II, man had not yet been to the moon. That wouldn’t take its place in history until 1969, but the space race started that year with the Russian launch of Sputnik, the first satellite to orbit the earth. I remember the fear and uncertainty of this new technology prevalent in the hearts of people. One only needs to remember this was happening in the shadow of nuclear weapon anxiety and the Cold War. Eisenhower was starting his second term as president of the United States. The first Boeing 707 flight took place. First Class postage was 3 cents. The Ford Motor Company introduced the Edsel automobile, which flopped miserably, and after a two-year run, was discarded. Civil Rights issues exploded in Arkansas and integration of schools was enforced by the government and armed U.S. Army Reserve troops.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time (no “Beatles” yet). Elvis Presley was hot in the theaters and on the radio, and buys Graceland for his mama. The Hamilton watch company introduced the first electric watch. Ten years later I graduated from high school and was drafted into Uncle Sam’s service two years after.

I have never been a real sports fan. I certainly wasn’t a jock in school, skinny as a rail and weighing less than a sack of potatoes. The closest I’ve come to being a fan-addict is following the auto racing scene. In most sporting activities it takes a team of individuals to accomplish the goal set forth by the competition of the sport. I think I liked auto racing over most team sports because performance dictates rewards. Perform poorly and go home with little or nothing. Perform at the pinnacle of excellence, out-performing all the competition, and one goes home with the top prize and bragging rights. I’ve really become disinterested in professional sports over the past 10 years for the mere fact that too many participants are being paid way too much money for poor performance. Money is even putting to ruin the Olympic Games and college sports, both of which are supposed to be reserved for amateurs who just love the game. Oh well.

[1 Corinthians 9:24-27] “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” The church has always intrigued me as writers like Paul encourage Christians to train for the competitiveness of life, but to never be in competition with one another. Too many people in this world see the church as a competitive social entity, when in truth, it is a spiritual kingdom filled with spiritually like-minded physical humans in a race to see how many people they each can take across the finish line with them. Crazy, isn’t it? Our faith and obedience in Jesus as our coach in this life will bring the reward of everlasting life with God in the true spiritual world after leaving this body. The stands of heaven are full of all the faithful souls who have gone on before us, cheering us on (Hebrews 11:39-40) so they may also receive that same reward.

Remember, when you “go to church” Sunday, it’s really a huddle of the players (Christians) listening intently to the instructions of Jesus as he coaches us in the game of life. Resist the devil. At times the play is -- run!

Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at Find his column on his blog at

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