When I was 14 years old and in 8th grade I wanted to be on the Track and Field team. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I wanted people to think I was a good athlete. The truth is that I really wasn’t that crazy about it! I decided that I wanted to do the High Jump. I had seen that it in the Olympics a couple of years earlier and I thought it looked pretty neat. Also, High Jumpers were not required to do the daily running routine that most others on the team were required to do. I hated running!
My goal was to meet the minimum standard that was required to Letter in Track and Field. That minimum standard was attending a prescribed number of practices which I figured would be pretty easy. The other requirement was to score at least 1 point in a Track Meet. I learned that I could score 1 point if I could ever get at least 3rd place in any Track Meet. Once I started practicing the High Jump I became aware of another problem. The starting height that must be successfully accomplished was 4 ft. As I practiced during the 8 weeks of Track Season, I would repeatedly do my very best to achieve the level of 4 ft. Everyday I was unsuccessful. I could set the bar at 3 ft. 11 in. and could get over it about 50% of the time. I kept leaving the bar at 3′ 11″ thinking that if I could just perfect my technique so that I could get over it 100% of the time I would then be ready to more confidently strive for 4′. As the season progressed to the last Track Meet, I had met the required number of practices but still had no points. Finally, at the last Track Meet of the season it looked like my fortunes would change. The other teams High Jumpers were not going to be able to participate meaning if I could just clear the starting height of 4′, I would score a point since there were 2 other High Jumpers on my team. I knew I would have at least 3 attempts because a High Jumper got to continue jumping until they had failed 3 times. I wish I could tell you that I cleared the bar and won the point and received a letter in Track. Instead, I failed. I knocked the bar down 3 times, letting myself down and my team down in the process.
Looking back at this I now know that I failed for many reasons. First, the running being done my most of the other team really would have helped me to develop coordination and strength that I was sorely lacking. I wasn’t really passionate about High Jumping or Track and Field for that matter. My motives were skewed and it showed up in my lackluster practice and performance. I also failed because I should have been practicing at least at 4′ instead of at some shorter level. I should have listened to my coaches when they gave me tips regarding technique and strategy.
While there is a lot to commend for consistently “showing up” which I did with respect to the practice sessions, there was something obviously missing. “Showing up” didn’t translate into success because I was setting the bar too low, both literally and metaphorically. I already mentioned that I should have been stretching to achieve what was unattainable during the practices instead of settling for less than. My coaches had told me that making a couple of simple changes would almost certainly lead to success but I wouldn’t listen.
I was setting the bar too low metaphorically by not giving of myself completely. I was lazy and satisfied to do it how I did it. If I was successful, good, if not, oh well. I wanted the reward without giving the effort required.
Funny thing is, I sometimes still have a tendency to be lazy. Time and time again, God has shown me how much better His partnership with me and His Church goes when I reject my sometimes lazy inclinations and really put my heart into it. Getting older as a Christ-follower has also taught me something else: I am not cut out for everything or every task within His Church or Kingdom. Because His Church is a Body not an individual, everyone doesn’t need to be an expert in everything. Instead, I have learned to say “no” to certain experiences which I know I am not really equipped to do passionately. I have learned to say “yes” to taking the time to help others discover where their passions for serving King Jesus are and encourage them to do it with excellence. Like the Apostle Paul reminded the Christ-followers in his letter to the Colossians: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
Do you have a problem with laziness or not really giving your best? Let me encourage you to rethink that. Don’t think you have to do everything. Instead, search for the places where you sense God guiding your service for Him and giving it everything you’ve got, for His Glory!