Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-8)
Have you ever been involved in sports?
When I was in Junior High, I was involved in our small town’s local bowling league. I guess my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to be involved in some sort of organized sports, since I was too small to play football or basketball (even though I did for a while later on).
When I started bowling, I knew absolutely nothing about the sport, but it looked like fun so I gave it a try. We had an actual league and there were coaches to teach us and encourage us to do our best. Each Saturday, we would all gather at the bowling alley (our town only had one) and start the day in the classroom. We’d watch a video about how to bowl, and then go out to the lanes with our teams and practice what we learned. Each week was a different lesson and each built on to the previous week’s lesson.
We learned about the different characteristics of the lanes, what the lines meant, what the arrows on the floor were for, how to hold the ball, how to walk to the approach, proper backswing, how to release the ball, etc…..
The most important thing I learned was, in my opinion, to follow through. I had a great coach who taught me three simple things to remember if I ever got flustered and began bowling poorly. In fact, I still use these three principles in every day life.
1. Slow down.
2. Keep your eye on your mark.
3. Follow Through.
I was the smallest kid in my class, and not all that strong back then, so I used the lightest ball I could find. It weighed only ten pounds. Bowling pins (there’s ten of them, y’know) weigh around 3 ½ pounds each. By learning proper technique and applying those three principles, I finished my first season with a 130 average. By the time I was in high school, I was shooting a 181 average. My senior year, my team-mate and I won the state championship, and my average was over 200 pins per game. My highest game ever so far is 267. So I know this works.
Just ask any golfer what is the most important part of his swing and they will tell you, “Follow Through”. You can’t just hit the golf ball, you need to follow through to the end of your swing (of course, the way I play golf, you may not be able to tell the difference). I could give a long physics explanation about the importance of follow through, but it would most likely bore you to tears, make you sick and cause you to possibly never visit here again.
Be the fact remains that follow through is important. I know too many people who would like to write a book, or act on stage, or speak in public, or lead a Bible Study, or go back to school. But they don’t do those things. Why? Well, they all have a lot of reasons why they do not pursue their dreams. But all of those reasons sound a lot like excuses to me.
A wise man once said that, “Excuses only sound good to those who make them”.
I read a story in Ann Landers a long, long time ago. It was a letter from a woman who was in her mid 40’s and she told Ann Landers that she really wanted to go back to school and get her degree, since her youngest child was about to graduate from college. But she wasn’t too sure it was a good idea. Her reason for not going was that she was too old to go to college. She was afraid of being the oldest person in her class. She asked, “Ann, do you realize how old I will be in four years if I go to college now?”
Ann Landers wrote a simple one line response.
“How old will you be in fours years if you don’t go?”
That letter was one of the main reasons I went back to college in my 30’s.
Just the other day I was talking to a friend about making a long car trip.
I was telling her how proud I was that she was able to do that.
“But I couldn’t have done it without you”
“You did do it without me. You drove that distance all by yourself”
“But I was following you”
“Yeah, but how did you know that I knew where I was going?”
“I just trusted you to lead the way”
Let that one sink in for a moment.
That’s how it is supposed to be with God and us. Just trust Him to lead the way. Have faith in Him that He knows where we’re going. Think about the story of Abraham in the Old Testament. God told him to pack up everything and just go. When he asked God where they were going, God told him, “I’ll tell you when you get there”. Now, that’s faith!
Think about that little white golf ball. The ball represents your life, your purpose, God’s will for you. All you have to do is swing the club, hit the ball, and let God determine where it goes.
It’s pretty hard to do sometimes. Life moves pretty fast and as Ferris Bueller says, “If you don’t slow down once in a while, you could miss it”
When life seems to be moving a little too fast, and things get hectic and you get confused about God’s plan for your life, try this……..
1. Slow down.
2. Keep your eye on the mark.
3. Follow Through.
Always remember to follow through. And don’t forget that “….he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion….”
But, you have to keep moving forward. Remember His promise.
Trust in Him.
And follow through.
(In case you didn't know, the "mark" in step number 2, is Jesus.)