It’s the reality of my Professional BBQ career. I am definitely not putting together a Hall-of-Fame resume. Time after time, week after week, contest after contest, I cook my heart out. I work the craft of competition BBQ relentlessly even practicing on weekends I don’t compete. I load up, travel, set up and get to cooking, all the while hoping, beyond hope, that this is the day.
I don’t have to win it, I really don’t, just stay consistently in the top 5 and I’m a happy, happy camper. So the contest marches through it’s rhythm of preparation, cooking and turn-ins. All is said and done, it’s in the hands of the judges and I break camp and get ready for awards and the ride home…hoping the phone call to Caroline is different this time… maybe some Good News.
Award presentation time and we move from 10th place to 1st and aside from an occasional consolation call… I sit, and I sit, and I sit… I watch and hear the names of friends called and I try to be happy and congratulate them, all the while feeling ashamed and embarrassed concocting thoughts of them thinking how bad a cook I really am. I mean, “he” cooks all the time, you’d think he would do better? I stick around as long as I can take it, and then to the truck for the ride home and the phone call to Caroline.
That call is similar, I got my butt kicked…. I know I cooked well, she agrees and tries to help, but there is no help, there is no consolation, it’s misery and grief…because I let it be that way. I make the decision to wallow in self-pity.
What I am quick to set aside, to ignore, to downplay…is the exceptional Good News that I have to share at every contest. The Good News of Jesus Christ as the Savior of us ALL. The fact that this life has a time-line, we all have a turn-in date, and we all will be judged. The GREAT NEWS is that on that day, in that moment, every one of us has the opportunity to be Grand Champions by simply making the choice to accept the Love of Jesus into our hearts and make Jesus our Lord and Savior.
In the grand scheme of things… THAT matters, THAT is important. THAT stands for eternity… TRUTH. [Rom 10:9-11 NKJV] 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."
How often I forget that, how often I chose to overlook the truth! I’m a competitor and God wired me that way. He knows how much I want to win and His choice is for me to languish in defeat to serve His purpose with my Life. As hard as it is….THAT, is a Blessing I desire to understand more and more. I am ashamed of losing God’s perspective for 1 second, but I do it regularly and I ask God to forgive me…. And He DOES.
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. [Col 3:1-4 NLT]
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. [Rom 8:28 NLT]
11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God! [Psa 42:11 NLT]
I’m not the best at Pro BBQ, not even close… But I’m gonna show up. I probably won’t win, but you will know I was there. To stop competing is the most selfish decision I could make and would permanently label me a loser. Not going to happen.. my time is here and now, regardless of the score sheets. God’s purpose for me, today, and always will be in the seeds planted for hearts to turn to Jesus Christ. Give it to God. What are you waiting for?