Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Real Winner?

A Real Winner for Christ.
When you think of American Idol, what contestant comes to mind? The ones they have on now with whatever season it is ( I don't watch it anymore, sorry.) or a favorite previous Idol, like Carrie, Clay, or Taylor? More than likely, one of the first names that comes to mind is Kelly Clarkson - the "ultimate Idol," according to many people. Out of all of the winners on the show, Kelly has had the most success, closely followed by Carrie Underwood. 
Kelly seems to have it all these days - she has an extremely successful career still going strong, with her latest single with Jason Aldean topping the charts; she has probably all of the money she ever needs or wants; she is on a first-name basis with tons of stars; and of course she is known as the most successful Idol.
If someone would ask me, however, who the most successful Idol is, I would probably blow your mind a little. My pick would be Mandisa. Mandisa wasn't a winner on American Idol, and she wasn't even a runner up. She took ninth place in season five. For some people, this wouldn't qualify as being a winner. To everyone that is saying that, I say - don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Mandisa has recorded with TobyMac numerous times, each time landing a huge hit amongst the Christian music scene. While Kelly and the rest are off earning millions of dollars and doing who-knows-what with their lives, Mandisa is writing books about her life and attempting to use her struggles with food addiction and other things to reach and help people. While Kelly and rest are recording their songs about relationships that fizzle out, cheat, or end badly, Mandisa is singing about the only relationship that really matters - her relationship with Christ. 
My favorite song right now is one off of Mandisa's new album. The song is titled "Stronger," and boy, does it pack a punch. The lyrics of this are too good to keep to myself. Here's the chorus, which is my favorite part:

"When the waves are taking you underHold on just a little bit longerHe knows that this is gonna make you stronger, strongerThe pain ain't gonna last foreverAnd things can only get betterBelieve meThis is gonna make you strongerGonna make you stronger, stronger, strongerBelieve me, this is gonna make you stronger."
To me, being a real winner isn't the fame, the fortune, the relationships with guys or girls, or anything like that - nothing materialistic. Check this verse out, found in Matthew:
 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21
You can earn all the money you want, buy all the things you could ever ask for, and still not be getting the point. You may think you're happy, but consider this - you can't take it with you. 
When I was younger, I had this joke book for kids that I got from church. One of my favorites in it went like this: A wealthy man has a dream, where he sees Peter at the gates of Heaven. "It's almost time for you to die and come to Heaven," Peter says, scaring the man. "Can I bring anything with me?" The man asks. Peter looks puzzled. "This is Heaven, where you won't need anything...but sure. You can bring one thing with you." The man wakes up afterwards, and writes a note telling his family he wants to be buried with a briefcase of his solid gold bars. A strange request, right? He wanted them though. Soon, the man dies, just like Peter had said. He reaches the gates of Heaven, where he sees Peter. "So, what did you bring with you?" Peter asks. Smiling, the man shows Peter his briefcase of solid gold bars, and Peter looks puzzled. "Why," Peter asks, laughing, "did you bring pavement?"
It's a silly joke, but it shows a clear point - you can't take it with you. Nothing from this earth is able to come with you to Heaven. Like the verse in Matthew says, don't store things up and save things on earth, because they aren't worth anything in the long run. Instead, store up your treasures and possessions in Heaven, because no one can touch them there. These treasures aren't money, or shoes, or other wealth - these treasures are your relationship with God, and the gifts you can give to others, which is telling them about God so they, too, can reach Heaven one day.
Mandisa may not have won American Idol, but she's doing what this verse and story tells - she's storing up her treasures in Heaven, rather than earning all of the money, fame, and fortune that she can on earth. In the years to come, people may not remember her name like they remember Kelly Clarkson. But I can guarantee you that in Heaven, there will be people thanking her for helping them discover Christ and the real treasures that He has.
So, here's your NR challenge for this post - think about the treasures you're building up. Is it your relationship with God that you're building up? How about your relationships with others to help lead them to Christ? Or, are you earning money, fame, fortune, friends, and other worldly things? Remember what the Bible says - these things don't stay with you forever. So take a look. You may reconsider what you consider real winning and treasure.
Are you in?



  1. GREAT stuff, Kimber! Right on with all of your points! Carrie Underwood is also, it appears, doing a good job of sharing her faith and focusing on what's important. She's recently been in "Soul Surfer," spoken about being a Christian, and sung "How Great Thou Art" at a concert. While I don't have any of her cd's, I'm a big fan of Mandisa on the radio. Great voice and message with proper perspective and treasures, which you've so well captured and added to. Thanks for sharing. Proud of you.

  2. Thanks, Kevio! I appreciate it. :)