My husband and I have been attending the sports games of our friends’ son since he was in elementary school. In middle school he made the school basketball team and began to concentrate on that sport. While I have enjoyed watching him play and cheering him on, I have to confess that I really didn’t think he had the instincts or skill to be much of a force for his team.
But when he got to high school things changed. He decided he wanted to be a good player and spent last summer in basketball leagues and special camps—learning from coaches and practicing lots. He now can dunk the ball, blocks are frequent (without fouling!); he runs the court and gets himself where he needs to be. He scores and rebounds. His high school team this year was second in their conference, and his contribution was a significant factor in their success.
Committing to something that matters to you and then following through—honoring the need to learn and to practice—makes a difference in what is possible.
Another friend has a gift for caring for individuals and the community. She has a way of intuitively knowing who needs attention and how and when to give that. Her care sustains and strengthens those she touches. She knows of her gift and values the opportunities she has to care. In the last years she has grown in her awareness of the importance of certain practices that sustain her and allow her to exercise her gift more fully. She has learned that failure to honor her need for the practices diminishes what she can receive, hear, and give.
Off-and-on-attention to playing basketball or exercising a gift doesn’t give you all that is possible. It takes dedication and care. Having an attuned spiritual life also takes that kind of serious commitment and faithful practice. You can have something regardless, because God is loving, gracious, and merciful. But there is so much more if you make the commitment and attend to the necessary practice.
To what, or to whom, are you dedicated and how is that expressed?
What do you need to do to sustain in you a faithful life?
“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long” (Psalm 25: 4-5).
For further reference:
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6: 24).
“. . . let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross. . .” (Hebrews 12: 1b-2a).