Tag Archives: effort

Don’t hold back

canada's women's soccerCanada’s women’s team scored early, and it seemed they were going to crush the Netherlands in world cup yesterday. But the second goal never came — much less the third or fourth. For those of us rooting for our northern neighbors, the disappointment turned to bitterness when in the final minutes of the game Netherlands scored an equalizer.

Because soccer games are often won by one goal, a team CAN lay back and just try to hold on. Disgusting.

canada vs. netherlandsSame is true of the church, when we congratulate ourselves on the one goal we’ve already made, the offerings we’ve already given, the work we’ve already done. It is enough. Why work harder? Let’s just coast into victory.

Japan, the women’s world cup defending champions, did the same against Ecuador. When they should have brought an avalanche of goals, they settled for one. Ugh. I hate it.

But do I do it? Do I call it quits on prayer, evangelism and giving far short of winning?

Advertisements

Just to prove you can’t, try

images

Legendary football coach Chuck Knox

Then-new L.A. Rams football coach Chuck Knox told his players that his squad would be 1) tougher, 2) smarter, and 3) in better condition. Walk-on Rob Scribner figured he wouldn’t make the team, but he tried out just to prove himself right.

But those words energized Scribner for what they omitted. They left out a key word in sports: “talent.” Scribner figured he lacked the raw talent for NFL level to make the team. But he knew he could work hard at being tougher and get in better condition. While other guys were out drinking, he’d be studying his plays to be smarter.

ce9f0fde980ecd37069ccd6fe7a9c800d268923dIn the end, Scribner made the team and played four years. Of him, Knox said, “Scribner was one of my all-time great guys.”

Lots of people have limitless talent. Not everybody is willing to roll up the sleeves, dig in and sweat a gallon. Too many pastors, leaders, and church members are set on cruise control. They’re lazy.

Rob Scribner RC Cola

Scribner, at right

Too many are unwilling to log the hours in prayer or sacrifice their time in service. Is cleaning the church beneath you? Can you give up personal entertainment options to set yourself apart for His service. Do you want to charge the church for your expertise and talent? Are you getting “smarter” by reading your Bible?

images-2Today Scribner is my pastor, at the Lighthouse Church in Santa Monica. His phenomenal work ethic, his tenacity, his vision continue to inspire new generations of dragon-slayers. There’s genius in “just showing up” to  rule the world, as they say.

Teams, not individuals, win

Fernando Torres, winner of the Golden Boot

Spain showcased masterclass soccer yesterday to beat Italy 4-0 and become the first nation to win three major titles consecutively: Euro Cup, World Cup, Euro Cup. And it did so without a clash of egos.

By contrast, Netherlands melted down in group stage and fell well short of expectations. Arjen Robben ripped his jersey off and stormed out of the stadium  because he was upset over being substituted by the coach. The rifts were evident.

Unity leads to victory

Spain demonstrated how to win. Top-notch players weren’t selfish, setting up goals for others instead of taking it themselves. Fernando Torres humbly hooked a pass to a comrade on a shot he could have easily made himself. It was the last goal of Cup. Such selflessness could have cost him the Golden Boot award.

This team triumph is a lesson for the church. Our culture tells us that individuals get the victory (Superman, Rambo and a host of movies promote this myth). But the Bible tells us it is His church, a collection of people, that will prevail. I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. — Mt. 16:18 NIV.

To achieve this utterly crucial unity (see Acts for examples of unity = revival), there is a need for humility, always out of vogue with the flesh. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. — Lu. 14:11 NIV. Robben should learn from the Bible.