When I turned 40 I decided I wanted to learn something new. I wanted to learn how to play tennis. I was gonna prove this old dog could learn a new trick. Never played before in my life, and just ask my family – I’m not an athletic specimen by any stretch. (I mean, I was picked last every single game of kickball every year in elementary school as you will recall from last week’s post 10 Embarrassing Moments, for heaven’s sake).
So I bought a cheap racquet and a couple of tennis skirts (you gotta look the part, after all). I had no idea what I was doing, but I was out there. Learning. Imitating my instructor as much as that 40 year old body could. Making friends. Loving it. And yes, I’ve even gotten a little better at it.
I’m nowhere near U.S. Open status and quite frankly have no desire to even play in a real league. But I’ve spent many hours practicing and playing so that when our group does play our “matches” (and I use that term very loosely) I’m at least competitive (except the times when I totally miss the ball and my tennis instructor calls me Helen – as in Helen Keller…).
I could have gone out on the court and started playing without ever taking a lesson, but I know how well that would have worked out. So it is with my faith. If I don’t spend time reading my Bible, praying and talking to Jesus I won’t grow spiritually. I’ll be stuck in one place, holding my racquet, wondering why I can’t compete in the game of life going on around me. It takes practice and perseverance to be competitive in a sport AND to grow in your faith.
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” (Hebrews 6:12) We need to apply that same diligence and desire to our faith. I’m competing for an eternal prize – I want a “Well done, my good and faithful servant!” from Jesus one day, angels cheering in the stands.
Practice, practice, practice. Then get out on the court and deliver. Your trophy will be an eternal one – more precious than any competition won here on earth.
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