"Jesus himself saw the power that competition hold over men, He did not ignore it. Yet he does something with the conception of competition that had it been done before. He takes the conception, which has been used for lower purposes and rescues it from many of its dangers, by suggesting a higher method of its use. This is how he applied the term to his disciples. He saw them in danger of using it for low purposes. They wanted to complete for reputation and position. Which of them should be accepted greatest? Jesus say so, if you must use the power of competition, if you must compete with one another: make it as noble as you can by using it [in] noble things. Use it for a fine unselfish thing. He that is greatest among you shall serve. Use it for human good. Shall be the most useful; compete with one another in humility. See which can be the trust servant. It seems that Christ says- use it but use it for higher and holier purpose. Use it not to surpass one another in esteem, but use it to increase the comment of usefulness and brother’s help..."
Imagine the change that would come about if the Churches applied this truth. Now we are bogged not in competitive denominationalism, which is a destroying the warm blood of Protestant Church. Which of them shall be accounted greatest? Let the churches stop trying to outstrip each other in the number of their adherents, the size of its sanctuary, the abundance of wealth. If we must compete let us compete to see which can move toward the greatest attainment of truth, the greatest service of the poor, and the greatest salvation of the soul and bodies of men.
Suppose the teaching of Jesus should be accepted by competing nations of the world, particularly Russia and Am[er]ica. They would no longer compete to see which could make the bigger atom bombs, or which cold best perpetuate its imperialism, but which could best serve humanity. This would be a better world.
--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Outline of a sermon on "Cooperative/Noble Competition." King takes Luke 22:24 as the basis of this message.