Competition and Companionship

Why do we instinctively love the strain of competition?
Why do we instinctively love the strain of competition?

Competition and Companionship

I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man’s jealousy of his friend. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. The fool folds his arms and consumes his own flesh.
Better one handful with rest, than two handfuls with effort and pursuit of the wind. Again, I saw futility under the sun: There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “So who am I struggling for,” [he asks,] “and depriving myself from good?” This too is futile and a miserable task. Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if somebody overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Eccl 4:4-12 (HCSB)

What value do we add to our life if we struggle through life alone? What satisfaction comes from always competing in a one man race? Life is about companionship and competition among friends. We are born social creatures by God’s design and our inspiration for accomplishing great and innovative things comes from our relationships with others.

“Keeping up with the Jones’ next door” is a catch phrase that speaks about man’s desire to maintain the status quo with our neighbors and friends. Merely driving down the interstate reveals the competitive nature of mankind. Few drivers are satisfied to allow traffic to buzz by without eventually pushing down on their gas pedal just a little harder to keep up or even gradually pass other vehicles. For most of us, what contentment is found in putzing through life always allowing others pass us by? Is that why we enjoy all sorts of races and sporting events, even if the thrill is watching others compete from the stands? We even introduce our children to all sorts of competitive games and teach them the value of winning from an early age. Our justification — competition prepares them for engaging into beneficial companionships as they grow up.

It is in the nature of man to also enjoy the company of likeminded close friends. Part of our social acceptance depends upon our circle of companions. Sadly, we are considered social misfits if we walk throughout life without any friends.

Our need for companionship is a survival instinct instilled within us by God. Man alone is a weak creature, but with the aid of friends and family he becomes a compelling adversary for even the fiercest animal.

Why is it we embrace team sports so much — football, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, even an impromptu tug-of-war match? Is it that our primal instincts are stirred by the companionship and raised level of competition involved? Even the lonely cross-country or marathon runner seeks a companion to run with until they push each other toward the finish line.

Survival is a necessity of life and demands us to perform at our best to either outrun our ever-present adversary or catch our prey. Companionship inspires and encourages peak performance, whether in survival mode or merely pursuing adulation over a game with friends at a party. God has in his wisdom instilled the gifts of companionship and competition to enable us to be the best we can be.

HOWEVER, companionship and competition is a gift from God. We must daily seek God’s will, ways, and wisdom as we grow through the designed companionship and competition God intends for our greater good. Never allow selfish motives to destroy what God designed for all of our good.

May the games begin with the Lord urging us all toward the finish line!


Words of Wisdom #227-11EC

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Retired, writing a contemporary mystery series, the Shiloh Mysteries. The first story is titled, "Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories". The sequel is "Testament, An Unexpected Return." The third is due out in Fall 2019, Purgatory, A Progeny's Quest."

2 thoughts on “Competition and Companionship”

  1. Hello Mike,
    As always you place thoughtful and add meaning to a scripture of which many of us would read on and not search for the higher meaning. I have received other letters from persons who seek help with book promotion–And I simply will not lie, for it cost twice as much to triple one’s self publishing cost to get the kind of advertising which might give any one of us a shot at moving to another realm. Beyond all things, the worst thing which happened to me with, “Pinkhoneysuckle,” was getting mixed up with those people who were able to get almost $2000 from me before my son in Santa Monica was able to get through my thick head that Movie Options are rare, and if people needing promotion will use one fearlessly, for the price of your rounding them up and getting them to court is far more than you’ve already given them–So one’s purpose becomes–To save others from the criminals. That is why I give people the truth up front–Even then–Those deserving writers will say, “No, these people really love me, and they would not pull of such a blasphemous act on me,” I am now encouraging many people to not publish unless they are prepared to accept they will never recover the cost. My entertainment lawyer son is now writing screen play programs for them! It has many similarities to, “Seinfeld.” A dear man from the Ozarks wrote me recently that he had made some forty sense toward his publishing cost after many months–So whom am I to help? I have one small window in to what kind of movies and books have one prayer–NO PUN–It is all about animation. It is the side of the voting public who are Hillary Clinton’s America–And we have moved away from our God. I thought last night’s White House Press Club celebration could not have ended on a tackier note–The, “N,” word brought on the last big laugh–And I must admit that I am standing out in this field of life and asking God, “How low are we finally going to go. I will vote this year only to support Trump, for he is anti-abortion–And I’ve lived in John Boehner’s district–As sweet and as Holy as it gets in America with the best public schools–But for him to have made such a negative statement about Cruz–This nation does not wish to have Mr. Cruz as our president.

    Keep writing good soul and speaking along with listening for we are somewhere in the years foretold–And we must beware of the, “False Gods,” for they are going to endeavor to end all of this beautiful garden sown for us. Thank’s Coach. Lovingly, Barbara

  2. Barb,

    I realized pretty early on when I launched the effort to write fiction with a thread of my faith perspectives intertwined in my characters that there are far too many wolves lurking in the shadows preying on writers being told they can get published quicker and without the distain of publishers and agents editing your creative efforts. What I decided early on is the same I told many eager rosy eyed athletes I coached – there are no short cuts to success. A price will be paid in time, effort and to get to the next level requires all you can give plus some luck mixed with a lot prayers and persistence. I also told them when you think you’ve done the best you can, dig a little deeper because the competition is fierce and they carry the same desires within them. Publishing is a tough road, and it requires time, the right connections, investments in making sure your story and the manuscript is able to compete in the eyes of those gatekeepers called agents and acquisition editors, and then there will be a round of final challenges before your story, if it gets that far, gets in production. Because it hurts so much to battle the competition fighting for the attention of the agents and publishers, those wolves I spoke of promise fame and success for an investment… Invest in yourself and invest in a team to help you to bring your story to fruition – ergo, spend the money on editing, sending printed manuscripts to BETA readers, attending rising conferences and getting your work critiqued by experienced eyes who can offer advice and direction. When you’re ready to throw in the towel prayerfully ask God for his will, ways and wisdom to push on. The minute you give up, your effort will be for naught and your story will remain just that. My writing partner was a gift from God – she came to me through a blog we shared interest in. When she agreed to help and then told me she was a creative writing instructor at the local college where she lives and I got a quick taste of her unfettered advice and edit advice, I got on my knees. She has encouraged me when I have wondered the marketable value of SANCTUARY and the sequel we are now writing together. In the beginning I cringed with some of the writing revisions she made go through and we are now over 2 years since we began just in the early stages of querying agents and some publishers, I know the pain I’ll feel if I give up now. Rejections are part of character building and daily I send out 2 more queries for every rejection I receive. Keep plugging and I promise to not stop writing my devotional blogs either- maybe they’ll end up getting published for my family to read long after I’m gone and my website fades away. Thanks Mike

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