Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Yard Lessons 1

For the next year we will be having a bit of a luxury (for Europe) in the form of a yard. As a result, I went out and bought a couple of “luxury items” that go with my idea of a yard: a grill (my little grill finally died back in Germany) and a Badminton set. We thought about croquet, but it was a little too luxurious for our pocket book and the short season that a yard is usable in these parts. As with anything in the thinking person’s life, these purchases served to teach us some things…

Badminton is a great game for a family with kids. It is relatively easy to play, it does not require a whole lot of space, the equipment is cheap and you don’t really need to have an elaborate court or room like some of the other racquet sports require. Basically, as in our case, you simply hand your four kids each a racquet and turn them loose. Or so I thought.

The easy game is only easy in relation to tennis or racquetball. It still requires a certain mastery of skills and a little patience while learning those skills. That is where our problem began. One of our children had an idea of how one should hit the shuttlecock, and it wasn’t working. Instead of taking advice or letting anyone show him how to do it, he repeatedly attempted to do it his way to no avail. Repeatedly. We’re talking dozens of attempts. All the while he got more and more frustrated and angry. He was in danger of deciding he hated this stupid game.

That is a perfect picture of human nature. We often never realize our potential in certain areas of life because we think things should come naturally or that they appear easily done only to discover that we cannot do them our first time around. The question that will determine how our lives proceed after that discovery is: will we allow ourselves to learn, or give up deciding we are simply not cut out for that particular task.

Worse are the people who try something, do it wrong but achieve a modicum of success and decide that that is simply the way they will do a task. It is their way. In Christian ministry this can be especially bad, because a person often confuses calling with gifting and think that they do not have to learn or improve upon their “natural” way of doing anything. There are a lot of pastors, teachers, and church planters out there convinced that they are doing things the way God intends them too who have never bothered to be teachable or achieve their full potential.

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