Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Does everything matter?

Remember the first Karate Kid movie? The kid asks the karate master to teach him to fight. The kid is expecting battle training but ends up washing and waxing a car, polishing a deck and painting a fence…all with specific motions. Whip on, wipe off; Paint the fence. The kid did not know what the master did. He was training and conditioning the muscles, muscle memory they call it, for specific karate movements. When the actual training and fighting came, the muscles already knew what to do. They had been trained in the everyday mundane tasks of life. Did you ever think that you are being battle trained in your kitchen? Really. How you respond in the everyday mundane tasks is preparing you to respond when things get really serious. You are practicing for when it gets really tough. When I was entering my senior year of high school, I spent half the summer with the Tennis Coach. I was the heir apparent to team captain and only returning varsity tennis player. The guys before me were WAY better athletes than I was so coach Dudley was doing all he could to help me learn how to win. I am not especially quick so a reflexive net game was out of the question. I was fairly tall, over 6’, and strong so coach Dudley settled on training my muscles to serve the ball at light speed. Every day I would have to serve a shopping basket full of balls aiming at where ever he would put the tennis can on the opposing side. I got pretty good at 1, picking up balls and 2 hitting the can. His planned worked perfectly. No one on my team could come close to me in practice. I usually practiced against Coach Dudley. In the high desert league I smoked almost every opponent. There was one player that was actually better than me overall. He had beaten me in a preseason tournament. We met again in the closing match of my high school tennis career. We split the first two sets. It was a 100 degree plus Saturday morning on a black court. There was no tie breakers back then and the match was not over until someone won the third set. Normally a set is the first to 6 games, but you must win by two. Somewhere around 12-12 in the third set it became all about conditioning and muscle memory. That was when hitting 500 serves every morning paid off. Fatigue and dehydration was setting in after the nearly 3 hour match with no breaks. Finally at 14-14 I broke his serve. I just stood at the line and let muscle memory from hours of practice hitting a can take over. His ground game was better than mine, but he could not defeat my serve. I won that match 16-14 in the third set. A college tennis scholarship came with the win. I finished #1 in the league. No way would I ever have beaten him without the hours of hitting the can in practice. I have since discovered that repetition in the little things prepares us for when it really matters. Like worshipping God in the moment instead of waiting for Sunday. Or patiently cleaning up after the toddler…for the umpteenth time today. Maybe a smile at the clerk instead of a blank face. How about an attitude check while carrying out the trash or mopping? In The Shack, Sarayu tells Mack, “If anything matters, then everything matters”. From that perspective EVERYTHING you do today will make a difference in eternity. Nothing is mundane or ordinary. It will all make a difference, so practice well.

1 Cor. 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men


Aimee said...

Thanks for reminding us of this Dad. Sometimes I get caught up in thinking, what big thing can I do for God? Then I'm reminded that I already am. He's given me two of the most important jobs in the whole wide world, raising Zandi & Zane. My character is challenged every day with everyTHING. I can SO relate to your example of the countless spills and messes! I have a decision in those let myself just be a pile of ugly clay, or let God mold my into something beautiful. I don't always make the right choice, but sometimes I do:).

Doni Brinkman said...

I have been thinking about this too lately. Who I am with my children counts more than who I am with others because they see the truth - what naturally spills out of me. I hope that someday it is my kids who will believe that their mama knew how to love people.

songgirl52 said...

I just love it when God uses all of us to open our eyes to His TRUTH. Everywhere I go lately, I am being reminded of God's Grace and his joy of the "Little Things" The same mantra is being revealed in Sermons, Bible Study, music, fictional novels, etc. This is one of those times where we all need to sit back, soak in the message and be joyful with God. I once told the Bible Study Ladies that its nice to know that even when I am cleaning the bathrooms (worst chore imaginable with 3 boys!) I can use the time to strengthen my relationship with the Lord.
We need to start thinking of how our "Little Things" complete the "Big Picture"

Thanks for reminding me today!!! :)

Jodi said...

I just love how when something is on my heart it seems to be on everyone elses too :). As Karsyn has been playing the last few months I am noticing that she copies everything I do. I forget how completely aware our little ones are. Unfortunelty she has picked up on my bad habits. I love 1 Cor 10:31 and repeat to myself often. I hope that I can train myself to act in ways that are always glorifying to God. I want to train up Karsyn and Ryker to glorify God in all they do. I know that sometimes I will fail and they will fail too, but we can also learn from those times. I love love love this blog thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts Dad.

heidi jo said...

i struggle with this a lot. it didn't used to be so hard when there were more obvious ways i was fulfilling what my inner definition called 'purpose' or 'ministry.' but the truth of the matter is, in the everyday, mundane, chores of life - i struggle with this. pray the Lord turns my heart to better understand the sense of purpose HE sees in each and every little thing.