I was leaning against the fence in the 70 degree sunshine. Oblivious to the crowd, I stared intently at the practice. Each time a player would run by I would envision what his life was like. I would imagine what it was like for a gifted athlete to try out for a professional football team. For the first time he was “just another athlete” among many “equals”. He was on the edge of fame and fortune. Yet, he was on the edge of a dead-end road with a broken dream.
The Dallas Cowboy’s Training Camp practice came to an end and eventually the players made their way from the field to the team hotel signing a few autographs on the way. But there was a notable exception. More than half-an-hour after practice, Jason Witten continued practicing with his position coach on the field. The other two healthy tight-ends (both trying to make the team) both appeared to be content to “call it a day”. They did nothing wrong. They showed up on time. Practiced hard through the designated practice time. They did exactly what was expected.
Maybe that’s the problem. Jason Witten isn’t an average player because he exceeds what’s expected.
Jason’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame candidate in the prime of his career. His position on the team couldn’t be more secure. Yet, after many players who may or may not make the team had left the field, there was Jason – working and learning.
As a follower of Christ, your eternal position is secure. It’s tempting to simply do what’s expected isn’t it? You’re doing nothing deviant or immoral. You wouldn’t think of it. You attend church. You might even open your Bible between the weekend services. You’re doing what’s expected.
But God seems to always use atypical people who are willing to do more than what’s expected. The road to impact always includes extreme sacrifice, suffering, and risks.
It’s easier to evade risk, avoid “messy” people, invest in no new relationships, pass on opportunities to stretch ourselves, decline chances that stretch our giving, and allow our calendar to lead us. You know – just doing what’s “expected”.
But you don’t want the minister to eulogize you at your funeral by repeatedly saying, they did what was expected as he secretly fights back a yawn.
Where is your faith being stretched? Who in your life has permission to challenge you if you start “mailing it in” with your life? Are you “staying after practice” in some area of your life for the Kingdom?