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Little Jimmy's Question Posted 1.11.2015

I got this blog on Thursday morning.  Stan Keith did too and read it at our Elder meeting on Thursday.  I will massage it a bit, but let Chuck Olson’s words prick your heart this morning.

 

Jimmy couldn't wait until he turned six. Jimmy's dad was a professional hockey player -- a perennial star in the NHL -- and the deal was that when he turned six, he could go to the arena to see his dad play for the first time. On the very day of his sixth birthday, he found himself seated in the stands, taking in the long-anticipated moment. As he watched his dad slice his way across the ice, he noticed that he kept leaving the game to sit in a room all by himself. 

 

After the game, he and his mom drove home. Troubled and confused, he asked her, "Why did Daddy keep leaving the game?” His mom replied, "Oh, that's the penalty box -- that's where you go when don't play by the rules." Trying to sort it all out, Jimmy sat in silence the rest of the ride home.   

 

Late that night, Jimmy's dad arrived home and went in to kiss his son good night. As he turned to leave the room, unable to feign sleep and keep quiet any longer, Jimmy called out, "Daddy, how can you score a goal for your team when you're always sitting in the penalty box?"  Ouch!

 

The reality is that too many believers are sitting in the penalty box, letting down their team -- their family, their organization, their church, themselves. Many have been disqualified from serving Jesus because of choices to step outside the rules of the game. They are in the penalty box.

 

Sadly, the landscape of Christianity is littered with leaders who in their moment of temptation reached into the bank account of their lives and leadership only to find insufficient funds. 

 

When Paul wrote his first tome to a group of believers, he pointed out that one of the risks of life (and leadership) is disqualification. Using the metaphor of Olympic competition, he compared life to a race. And in preparation for the race of life, he makes a poignant observation:  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.

 

With an eye on the prize, we must all be relentless practitioners of self-discipline and strict training. The pain of discipline today far outweighs the pain of regret tomorrow. Yes, sin brings pleasure, but we must also know that sin comes with an oversized price tag.  And a ton of collateral damage.

Albert Tate, puts it this way, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, make you stay longer than you want to stay, and make you pay more than you want to pay.” 

 

So will you run not just to run, but will you run to win?  Start this year with a time of intentional solitude to ask God to show you what area of your life is in need of "strict training."  The stakes are high. You are needed, competing in the game of life and even leadership.

 

 


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