There are a couple of significant things have taken place recently: the Olympic Games concluded and school started.
The Games have been great—from the spectacular pageantry of the opening ceremony to Michael Phelps’ extraordinary achievements. Whether you’re drawn to women’s gymnastics, basketball, track and field, tennis, softball, or any of the other events, there is something for everyone. To me, the most inspiring thing of these or any Olympics, is the remarkable level of dedication and discipline displayed by the athletes. The Games that we watched were over in just two and a half weeks, but they were the result of years, and in some cases, decades, of intensive training.
That’s where school comes in. For most people, formal education involves close to two decades of their lives. There’s a great deal of detail and repetition involved in most types of learning. Although teachers and instructors do their best to make it as interesting as possible, the truth is, learning requires discipline. Whether it’s the ABC’s, the multiplication table, or human anatomy, hard work is the order of the day. We can’t fake it or shortcut our way to knowing. In fact, these strategies will only get us into trouble. There is no substitute for rolling up our sleeves and going to work.
This brings us to following Jesus. A word that has sadly fallen on hard times is the word disciple. Maybe it’s because it sounds dangerously like the word discipline. I’m convinced that at least part of our problem with discipline is we tend to look at it in a one-dimensional manner. We hear the word and we think only about the uncomfortable immediate and nothing at all in regard to the joy and gratification that is the fruit of discipline. That is unfortunate. The Olympics provide our instant gratification culture with a powerful reminder of the reward for patience, hard work, and perseverance.
Don’t be afraid to be a disciple!
“God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life,” (Romans 2:6-7).