This article is from the sermon series I preached for the months of January and
February. Since there are many people who do not attend worship on a regular basis I thought tweaking one of my sermon into an article for the newsletter would be beneficial to our parishioners. The title of this sermon is, “Thinking Like a Winner.” I hope this article will help our thinking and decision making process.
Thinking Like a Winner
After four hundred years in Captivity people of Israel experienced forty years of wondering in the wilderness as the result of grumbling and limiting what God could do. People of Israel are now camping on the Southern border of Canaan the Promised Land. They can smell the air from the Promised Land. After their long journey and seeing miracles God did to rescue them, now they are close to the Promised Land. God commands Moses to select Twelve spies, one from each tribe. God and Moses want to make sure that every tribe is represented. Moses gives the spies a clear mission.
They need to see the land: Observe if the soil is fertile or poor. Check if there are trees or not. They are instructed to bring the fruit from the land so that people can taste them. It was a season
for the first ripe grapes and they brought a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. They need to see people: Are they weak or strong? Are they few or many? They need to see the towns: Are they unwalled or fortified? These spies have a clear mission. They are
elites among the soldiers. Twelve spies went to Canaan as instructed by Moses. They went and do their job, but when they returned they brought a conflicting report.
These twelve spies explored the same land, but they processed their information and translated it differently. Isn’t what we all do in life? We may have similar information but we interpret that differently. Ten spies thought like losers while two of them Joshua and
Caleb thought as winners. According to Ranal Currie “To be a winner you must think like a winner, prepare like a winner and perform like a winner. Ten spies gives this report, “We went into th land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there” Numbers 13:27-28. Caleb realizes that people are terrified by the names of strong tribes they are about to
face. As someone who thinks like a winner he says these words, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Spies with a Grasshopper Mentality A grasshopper mentality is the way of thinking that tends to focus on problems instead of solutions. People with a grasshopper mentality do not think like winners and they can’t certainly prepare like winners because they defeat themselves before the battle begins.
Ten spies who think like grasshoppers also spoke like them. Here is the conclusion of their report, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” Numbers 13:31-33. Ten spies suggested that Israelites should return to Egypt because they could not. All people agreed with ten spies, they raised their voices and wept aloud. All Israelites grumbled
against Moses and Aaron. Grasshopper thinkers are distractions When we buy into grasshoppers’ persuasion we can’t reach our God given full potential. We need those who think like winners to show
us possibilities while grasshoppers focus on impossibility. There are certain things we need to know and believed if we are going to think like winners. In his book Winning in the land of Giants, Dr. William Mitchell suggests what someone who thinks like a winner needs to know: He/she needs to know that he or she is in the Lord. A Winner knows that he/she is a child of
God. A winner understand that he or she has a divine destiny as a God’s chosen child. A Winner knows that God is greater than the giant he or she faces. A winner believes that nothing is impossible with God.
A Winner trains like a Champion
Once the Great Muhammad Ali said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” Winning does not happen by accident. We have to train our minds and bodies for those who do athletic competitions. While training is tough, is painful, but it’s worthy it. Exercise and New Year’s Resolutions January is the month many people try new things especially exercising. Gym owners are now making thousands of dollars. By midFebruary majority of people who registered for gym membership will quit going to gym!
Some of them will continue to pay monthly fees through direct withdraw and they will have no idea that they are paying for a service they do not us. Winners Do not Retreat but they press
Ten spies suggested that people should retreat back to Egypt and they should chose a
grasshopper thinker to lead them back to Egypt! Moses and Aaron fell face down because they could not imagine. When it was chaos, Moses and Aaron were down, Joshua
and Caleb step up and provided words of assurance. Joshua and Caleb said, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is
with us. Do not be afraid of them” Numbers 14:7-9.
Because people were so consumed with grasshopper mentality, they attempted to stone,
Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb seemed to oppose what ten members of the committee suggested. As a result Israelites who were very close to the Promised Land wondered in wilderness and only two people Joshua and Caleb were Egypt-born who entered the Promised Land. The rest perished in wilderness. Children who were born during that time of wondering entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua and Caleb.
Winning is an attitude not a platitude. It has to come within and we have to train ourselves
to think like winners. When we allow our minds to see the possibilities God laid in front of us we can overcome any obstacle that presents itself that would hinder us from reaching
the full potential God has given to us.
Rev. Dr. Innocent Justice