Monday, April 29, 2013

Doing Your Best

My son recently swam at a big meet. He did well, but not as well as we were hoping.
As a parent I think I get more nervous than he does.
What is it that drives us on to spend so much time, money and effort trying to reach high levels of achievement?
Maybe it's glory and notoriety.
Do we see ourselves as possible icons or idols, sporting or otherwise.
Are some people simply chosen for "greatness"?
It applies to many areas of life, academic, sporting, glamour, entertainment, etc. 
There is at least one connection to the limelight, amongst all these various categories. Publicity, and more specifically, media.
The media is the medium by which we all learn the names of our sporting heroes.
It is also one of the rewards for high achievers.
One comment my son made was; at least he made it on TV.

Yes it is one of the rewards for high achievement.

And as a song writer I dream of one day hearing one of my songs on the radio or TV.

What if there were no media?

How would that change our desire and effort?

What if we did things simply for the sake of doing them and had no underlying desire for glory?

Or better still, what if our efforts were to glorify someone else, specifically, God?

That is something worth considering.

And what does it actually mean to glorify God?

As a first thought, I wonder if when a creature displays the beauty/functionality that is designed by its creator, it both satisfies and points to the creator.

When I hear a fantastic song, I am often interested in who wrote it. When I hear a great bit of guitar playing, I am not just interested in the musician, I also want to know the make of the guitar.
It is not by chance that instrument makers often have their trademark clearly marked in places that can be easily found and often stand out in a photo or film.
We often look for the place of manufacture of goods we purchase, putting some value in the place of manufacture, eg "made in Germany".

God has placed his mark on us, more so "in" us. His Holy Spirit.

God the Holy Spirit is not an external mark that can be found in appearances.
He is seen more in a person's character and behaviour.

The fruit of the Spirit are not always obvious to us when we look at ourselves, but God can make them obvious at the right time.

I am suggesting that we bring glory to God not necessarily through high achievement, but more so through right behaviour. Honesty, integrity, kindness, humility, faithfulness etc.
Please look up the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians and 2 Peter and lots of other places. They are wonderful gifts from God to us that point back to him and to his wonderful character.

Failing to be the best at something may well bring more glory to God than being the best.
Being the best at something tends to bring glory to lots of other things, like various brands of companies involved in sponsorship, as well as to the individual themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly wish my son had won his events.  And I certainly suffer a bit of disappointment when I think of the  "could have beens" .
But it is good to remember that God has a purpose for every experience of our lives and that he can and does bring blessing in and through them.

And we can trust that, at the right time, he will use us to bring him glory which he actually shares with us.

Our own glorification is a future promise. 

Praise him.