The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race … Ecclesiastes 9:11

There are some who have an urge to compete and win. As long as they continue to win or get results, they think that it’s their strength, intelligence or skill that landed them success. But when they or their subordinates or children encounter failure, they lose their bearings. They strive all the more. They might pressurize their subordinates or children to work hard thinking that success seeks out the most skillful and the most qualified people. They can’t be further from the truth.

The wise preacher in the Scriptures tells us clearly that the fastest runner need not always win a race. Similarly, “the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.” This is not just about a sport or a physical activity. This applies to other arenas of life. The Preacher continues: “The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.”  Give all this a positive twist and the verse will appear in a different light. “Even the not-so-fast can win a race. Even the weaker warrior might win a battle. A school dropout might become a millionaire. Most business leaders never did an MBA. ‘Average’ boys and girls are leaders of society. They are successful, respected and honored!”

How does the wise Preacher explain all this? In terms of “time and chance!” I don’t think the Bible is referring to chance the way people commonly refer to “luck.” The New Living Translation of the Bible renders it like this: “It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time.” And who brings the right people to the right place at the right time? None other than the God of the Bible.

It’s distressing to see how Christians forget this Scriptural observation and lean on their own understanding. It’s easy to fall prey to a secular, godless philosophy of our times which tells us that we are the ones in charge of our destiny. The world tells us that we’ll make it big if we have the right degrees and the right connections. How foolish of us to join the rat race for these false securities!

If you watch someone fail, stop being judgmental. You know that you did not succeed in life because you were the smartest or strongest. The God who helped you can help others too. If pride has made you blind to this fact, you’ll tend to crack your whip instead of offering a word of encouragement to those who depend on you. On the other hand, if you’ve encountered failure, remember that it’s not because you weren’t among the best or because you didn’t put in as much effort as others did. Trust in the Lord, the divine mover and shaker. He can bring you to the right place at the right time.

The Divine Mover & Shaker
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