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The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel

The Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel is senior pastor of First Congregational UCC in Dubuque, IA. She is a speaker and author of several books including "'Spiritual But Not Religious' Is Not Enough."

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Lillian Daniel: A Victory Speech from Someone Who Never Wins Anything

November 15, 2016

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2

When it comes to little contests and games of chance, I never win anything. But guess who guessed the number of chocolate coffee beans in the jar last Sunday? It was me, it was me, it was me! The humble pastor!

Ethical concerns prevented me from keeping the gift. Church leaders even suggested it might be appropriate to choose another winner instead of the minister, but I persuaded them to let me have my moment, since, after all, I never win anything. I promised to share my chocolate coffee beans with others.  My win was about the honor of the thing, not material gain. 

Sadly, nobody wanted to hear the full three-hour victory speech I prepared about what lead me to make the winning guess on the coffee beans.  So let me reflect on my success here in this devotional in the hope that you'll be inspired by my example. 

As I look back on a lifetime of never winning anything, I now see that I was being trained for that one competitive moment, when a decisive instinct would put me out in front of the pack. I can't explain it, I just did what I had to do. I went out there and executed at a high level. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the little people, as well as the coach. It wasn't about my skills, it was about the whole ball club. It takes a village to raise a child.   Measure twice and cut once. It was 90% mental and the other half was physical. As a player, I left it all out there on the field. And lastly, God bless America. 


Dear God, help us to remember that our "accomplishments" are not our own, and that every "win" is just a chance to give you thanks for what we did not achieve all by ourselves. Amen.

From UCC's StillSpeaking Devotionals

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