11 Jun Leave it all on the field by Brooke Mason
“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.”
1 Corinthians 9:25-27 (MSG)
I love that the Apostle Paul referred to an athlete when He wrote the passage above. He lived with a “leave it all on the field” attitude. This is easier said than done, especially when life seems to be on a losing streak, when we feel like we can’t seem to hit the target or when we feel like we ARE the targets. This is when we have to keep showing up, keep pressing into God, keep giving it everything we’ve got when we feel like throwing in the towel or taking a spiritual siesta.
I grew up in a small town where softball was not simply considered a sport; it was a lifestyle. My older cousin was an incredible fast-pitch pitcher, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I remember being in seventh grade watching the high school team dominate and I was inspired! So, I gathered up a bucket of balls and an old tire. I went out to the back yard, leaned the tire against our metal shed, marked off 45 feet and got to work. I would like to tell you that I hit the tire and was a natural but that would be a lie. In fact, it took months of daily practice before I began hitting the tire more than hitting the shed. Then, all of a sudden (or not so all of a sudden), I could aim at any part of the tire and hit that mark. Oh, and the shed fell over due to all the beating it took.
Just as good athletes aren’t developed overnight, fruit doesn’t grow in a day. This is hard to grasp sometimes, especially in the day and age in which we live. The values of discipline, perseverance and patience are taking a back seat to the newer, faster, at-your-fingertips, microwaveable lifestyle. However, culture does not dictate God’s timetable. In reality, the Christian journey consists of a lifestyle of seemingly invisible faithfulness with seasons of visible fruitfulness along the way. Many times, the fruit we are producing is unseen, but its impact is eternal. God causes the fruit to grow. Our job is to wake up, be faithful, go to bed. Wake up, be faithful, go to bed…one bucket of softballs after another. Then we can look back and all of a sudden, we can see how far God has brought us. We can see the fruit of our perseverance not only in ourselves but also in those around us. Let us not give up when we go through the slumps of life or ministry. We are called to leave it all on the field!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”