Killing the good in the Quest for the perfect

Sometimes we kill what is good in search of the perfect. In the quest for the better widget and the perfect life we create unnecessary anxiety and turmoil and wind up missing what is right here. What works. What is necessary.
 
Seth Godin writes, “Here’s the thing: Swedish matches are better. They might be the best in the world. They do everything a match should do–but better. They light more quickly, burn hotter, and give more match satisfaction.
 
Except you probably don’t have a box in your house.
 
Because you don’t care that much about matches.”
The critical question is not what is the best      (fill in the blank). The question should be what is essential in order to fulfill God’s purposes and build the life He would have for me.
The best match does what the cheapest match does. Burn.
Seth Godin, “What does ‘better’ mean?”,  Seth’s Blog, http://www.sethgodin.com, February 26, 2020.

Would the Apostle Paul Root for the Kansas City Chiefs?

Would the Apostle Paul root for the Kansas City Chiefs?

In short. Yes. Especially if he was from Kansas City. But if he was from San Francisco he would probably root for the 49ers.

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Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

Paul’s aim was to share Jesus in any way he could. He would become all things to all men to win some (1 Cor. 9:22) and use the language of the place he was to communicate with those who lived there (Acts 17:24 – 29). My assumption is that Paul would probably root for the team of the city he was in.

Sport is a common connecting point for many people. Whether your athleticism is speed walking from the couch to the fridge or completing an ultramarathon many can connect to the story and struggle that emerges from sport. Paul often used the imagery of sports to communicate spiritual truth.

Look at the following from Paul (emphasis added);

  • Acts 20:24 (ESV); But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27 (ESV); 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
  • Philippians 3:14 (NLT); I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
  • Galatians 5:7 (ESV); You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
  • 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT); “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:12 (ESV); Fight the good fight of the faith
  • 2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV); I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
  • Philippians 2:16 (ESV); Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

Sport creates a connection point. The imagery of sport helps to apply one’s faith. To endure challenges. To know what it is to rise from failure. To celebrate more than the win but competing well.

Does God care who wins the big game? No. God cares about how the players play. In a similar way, God cares how you live out your faith. That your faith will by His strength endure. That the free gift of grace will be worked out in the arena of your life. Fight the good fight. Run the race to obtain the prize. To quote Hebrews 12:1- 2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Run. Fight. Win.

And Go Chiefs!

 

God sees what I cannot possibly see

Gideon is one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament. When we first meet Gideon he is hiding in a cave threshing out wheat. An angel of the Lord appears to him and greets him in a way that is not consistent with the circumstances. God sees who Gideon will become, intervening in his life, long before Gideon even knows who he is.

My recent column at The Southeast Missourian expands on this blog.

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Summer Reading

I’m always reading something. I just finished The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt: A Lifetime of Exploration, and Triumph of American Natural History by Darrin Lunde. A fantastic read. I am currently reading American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon. (Though while doing some research for this short introduction I’ve been made aware of a controversy surrounding Solomon’s work that I need to investigate further.)

My latest post with LifeWay Pastors speaks to three reasons to add a biography to your reading list this summer. I say there are three, but really include four in the post.

Three Reasons to Read a Biography This Summer

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A ​Mother’s Influence

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. A day that sometimes I celebrate correctly. Other times I limp along. No matter how well I celebrate Mother’s day I am always thankful for the influence of my wife and my mother.

This past Sunday he Southeast Missourian published an editorial on a mother’s influence from Romans 16:13; “”Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother — and mine” (CSB).”

A Mother’s Influence

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Everyone has thought about what life would be like in a different place. How if they were just in a different place, in a different job, then their work would be fulfilling, their children will get along, and their water heater will never quit. We also know, deep down, that how we are here is how we will be there. You can though make the most of where you are.

My latest post with LifeWay Pastors speaks to making the most of where you are. Ways to bloom where you’re planted.

 

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Source: NewYorker, January 14, 2018, Instagram

 

Bloom Where You’re Planted