Coco Calling No.145 - The Downside of One-upmanship
Springtime is springing forth, and all of God’s creation is starting to stir. The first couple of Swallows have flown passed the kitchen window, and swathes of daffodils and narcissus are nodding in the early morning breeze outside. Lord Strutt, our local cock pheasant, is puffing himself up to twice his normal size to impress all of his girlfriends and to intimidate his rivals. And there’s a blackbird busy gathering a beak full of worms showing that he’s recently become a father. There’s a fresh hope, a vibrancy and an optimism about the world which is a joy to behold.
Photo credit: Pixabay
The only downside to this happy scene is that competition is suddenly rife. Plants, birds, animals and all other living things are now on a mission to become the biggest and the best as they seek to reach, to grow, to grab to claim and to conquer. All in a frantic race to come out top of the pile. To be the “alpha specimen” of their particular kind. Rather like Lord Strutt out there on the lawn.
And not even humans are above this kind of behaviour. In fact, some are like it all of the year ‘round and not just in the Springtime. And that can apply to all age groups….
Three boys were in their school playground bragging about their dads. The first one side: ‘My dad can scribble down a few words, call it a poem, and they pay him £50.00 for it!’ The second chipped in saying: ‘My dad scribbles down a few words, calls them the lyrics of a song, and they pay him £100.00!’ ‘That’s nothing’ said the third boy. ‘My dad scribbles down some words, calls it a sermon, and they pay him so much money that it takes four people to go around the church to collect it all!’
Oh to be associated with the biggest and the best! And yet, humans in their status at the zenith of God’s creation are supposed to be so very different to everything else around them. Unlike other creatures, they are expected to defy the natural order of things and to live out their lives with humility and generosity. There is so much written in the new Testament about this. And it means that humans are expected to shoulder a huge responsibility in the way they go about their lives and the way they treat the rest of the planet around them. As the so-called “master species of creation,” they are the custodians of the planet, both for themselves and for all other life-forms. One-upmanship, being the biggest and the best, and grabbing as much as you can for yourself plays no part in this role. And so far, the master species is proving to be a great disappointment, incapable of shouldering the responsibility that it has been given. Things will only ever change if human beings learn to let go of self-interest. Are they intelligent enough for that?
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)