Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Lesson in Discipleship

Here’s a quote from Michael Lewis’ book, Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life. Lewis it talking about his high school baseball coach:

“Most kids don’t get it” . . . By “it” he did not mean the importance of winning or even, exactly, of trying hard. What he meant was neatly captured on a sheet of paper he held in his hand, which he intended to photocopy and hand out to his players, as the keynote of one of his sermons. The paper contained a quote from Lou Piniella, the legendary baseball manager: HE WILL NEVER BE A TOUGH COMPETITOR. HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. “It” was the importance of battling one’s way through all the easy excuses life offered for giving up.”

I look for truth wherever I can find it. What is true and good is not confined to Christian sources; it can break out anywhere. I love this quote from Piniella. It’s true, not just in athletics, but in life; it’s basic to a healthy spirituality. I’m not talking about the “tough competitor” part, but the part about being "comfortable with being uncomfortable."

I think much of American Christianity is preaching a religion of comfort. Christ is offered as the answer to all our questions and the solution to all our problems. The Gospels, however, present Christ as one who creates as many problems for his followers as he solves. The call to die to our ego/self and take up our cross in obedience to Christ is a call to relinquish certain comforts. It involves learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Until we learn this lesson as disciples of Jesus we will mostly dabble in the faith. We will splash around in the shallows with the crawfish and water bugs, afraid to venture out into the deep water where the big fish live.

(The above article first appeared in "Connections" (Oct. 25, 2009); the bi-weekly newsletter of Immanuel Baptist Church (ibcfrankfort.com).

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