The other day I came across a quote that really made me stop and think. That’s really hard to do in the age of social media. It seems that everyone is posting motivational quotes these days, but this one really caught my attention. The quote was simply…
“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength but by perseverance.”
If you really stop and think about this quote for a moment you will quickly see just how true it is and how it can be applied to so many areas of our life.
I have the honor of coaching several kids and young adults in the sport of triathlon and we talk about this principal often. It’s the principal that in the long run, consistent hard work will trump pure strength and talent every time. Over the years, many people have come up and ask me how our triathletes are so fast. They want to know the secret workouts, the secret nutrition tip, or the top-secret gear we use to get so much speed out of these kids.
My answer is always that same, but it rarely satisfies those asking the question. Work ethic. Consistent hard work is what we teach our athletes. Some of our athletes are ranked among the fastest triathletes in the nation, and it seems as though they stay there year after year, sometimes gaining in position. But why? Why is it that some athletes slowly rise in their rankings through the years, and some come on the scene seemingly out of nowhere, rise to the top, and then as fast as they showed up, they’re gone?
In my opinion, it’s because they never learned the values of consistency, perseverance, and patience. Sadly this is becoming more and more common in our society. Kids, or should I say the parents of kids, want to become the next Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth before the age of ten. They have some talent and before you know it, they are on multiple travel teams, competing every single weekend with local or regional success, then they take a step out on the national stage and all of a sudden they are burned out, or they just don’t like the sport anymore. Honestly, I think it’s deeper than that. I think many times they’re told how good they are, how talented they are, how they’re going to do great things, all of which may be true, but they were never prepared for the realization that there are thousands of other kids like them and that the true test is not in their strength but rather in their ability to persevere.
If you’ve ever been to one of our triathlon practices, you’ll begin to pick up on a few things that I say often. One thing that I tell our Elite athletes is that when they show up for a race, everyone is fast, and everyone wants to win, but it is those who have learned that strength and talent will only take you so far, that win in the long run. Consistency, perseverance, and patience are the virtues of a true champion. When water encounters an obstacle it creates an eddy. It slows down, often reverses course, makes adjustments, and carries on. It’s consistent perseverance that makes it possible for streams to carve their way through rock to rivers.
What about our spiritual lives? Does the quote above give any insight on how we should view our walk with Christ? You bet!
How many times do we get on a “spiritual roll”? How many times do we sign up for that “spiritual little league travel team”? Many times we are no different than that ten-year-old kid who realizes there’s a lot more work than they thought to becoming a major leaguer.
Our major league is Heaven, and we are called to train day in and day out until we get there. What is our training? Pointing people to Jesus Christ. It’s not seeing how many books of the Bible you can read, how much education you can get, or even how many Jesus stickers you can put on your car. Now don’t get me wrong, those are great tools to have, but they are just that, they are tools.
It’s no different than in the sport of triathlon. We see people at every race who have the best bike, the best looking clothes; they just “look” fast. Then they start the race, and it’s obvious their ten thousand dollar bike might as well be a ten-dollar bike because they haven’t put in the training. They put their focus on having the best tools, not the virtues of persistence in training!
Today, think about where your spiritual focus is.
Is it in your talents? How can I become a “super-christian” over night?
Is it in your tools? How much knowledge can I accumulate?
Or is it in your training? How can I tell someone about Jesus Christ today?
Talents and tools are great things to have, but without consistent training, they are worthless!
Have a great day everyone.