I recently returned from a Taekwondo tournament, and it’s always fascinating to watch people react — especially parents toward their kids. Of course, there’s always a know-it-all on the sidelines critiquing each performance. For those bozos, I’m reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s words.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better …
I watched many competitors, some quite good, others, well, not so much. However, each had the guts to try, and maybe succeed, maybe fail. The know-it-all bozo on the sidelines doesn’t know that…
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds …
Sadly, the same thing happens in the church. I can’t tell you how many times someone comes up to me (an elder of our church) with something like “the Lord has placed this burden on me for xyz.”
Great, I say, go to it.
Then watch as the deer-in-the-headlights look comes on, and they say, well, no, you know, ummm, well, I’m a bit busy, so I thought you could do it, here’s what you need to do.
With few exceptions, if the Lord places an idea in your head, it’s for you to do it. Be the man in the arena who dares great things, tries again and again, perhaps comes short, but makes the effort.
Know this, critics will always be around. But they’re not in the arena; ignore bozos who aren’t really interested in getting their hands dirty.
Pastors, elders, and teachers exist to help you along, answer questions, and offer support — not to do the job you’ve been called to do. You’re the man in the arena who…
…knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly …
Christian life differs not from Taekwondo. Two basic facts will always exist.
- You’ll encounter bozos who are nothing but critics. Ignore them.
- The difference between a black belt and a white belt is the black belt never quit. Ever.
As I wrote in my book “Get Back in the Game”:
For far too long I’ve seen Christians slaughtered like pigs from a lack of preparedness when trouble arrives, and I’m tired of watching. It’s time to do something about it. If you’re bringing (metaphorically) a knife to a gun-fight, you’ve only set yourself up as a pig going to the slaughter (put that image firmly in your mind, because we’ll come back to it. A lot).
My goal is to make this site your go-to resource for filling your toolbox so you’ll be ready for the 3AM phone call. Because neither I nor your pastor can be everywhere and do everything — it’s time for each person in the church to get in the game.
… because it’s 2:59 AM.