Have you ever dreamed of being the best that you could be? Have you ever wished, or hoped you could be more than average, status quo, or mediocre in anything? Have ever longed to make a difference or to contribute something to society that mattered? If you have you may want to read the rest of this article.
As a young man I grew up dreaming of playing in the big leagues; either becoming a professional ball player or a successful business man. I had hopes of breaking the mold of being average. I dreamed of being successful and having more than just getting by and paying the bills. I wanted the most I could get out of life.
All through my youth I desired more and pushed and pressed to be all that I could be. In all my efforts I kept finding myself to be "average." I kept coming up short of my goals ending up the sixth man or the back up in most sports. I was adequate to make the team but lacked the excellence to be a starter or one of the best.
Then I met Coach David McKim. He was the High School gymnastic coach at Martins Ferry High School. I was between my Freshman and Sophomore years in high school when I tried out for the team. Coach McKim approached me and shared a truth with me that changed my life forever. He was honest enough to tell me the truth about myself. He said, "Michael what you lack to become excellent and good in life is, "discipline." You are good, but what you lack is excellence. If you want to excel in life you will have to listen and follow instruction that presses you past being comfortable."
Then instead of cutting me from the team he set a plan of action before me and asked me to decide for myself what I wanted to do. After getting past my original ego and anger I decided to give it a try. The results were as I said life changing. I went on to be a part of a championship team and even participated in and placed in the State Tournament.
Through listening to and obediently submitting to instruction and applying the discipline suggested, I achieved something better than average. I achieved excellence. I literally became the best I could be. I found out later that what I had discovered as a gymnast applied to all of life. If you want to go beyond the norm it requires discipline and obedience to the instruction of a coach.
As a young man I found this out through another life changing decision. I gave my heart to The Lord Jesus Christ. I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior. I became a Christian and began the journey of growing in faith.
The single greatest influence in my faith was discovering who my Pastor was and yielding to his "coaching" in my life.
I spent years in the church and even taught Sunday school and ministered for several years. I did okay. I was above average and did well. But I lacked, "excellence." The proof of my mediocrity was the fruit in my life. I was married but our relationship struggled. I had two fine sons but again our relationships were at best average. I attended great church services and saw God do wonders. But we still just "existed" not "thriving" in the abundant life of Christ.
We had a measure of success in ministering, but what good is a bushel basket full of apples if the fruit is full of defects and worms?
It was at this point in life I sought The Lord for what lacked in my life. In an era filled with personal trainers, fitness coaches, and mentors for anything and everything, why do we ignore the most important area of life, our Spiritual Maturity?
Friends I am telling you if you desire the Kingdom of God. If you desire to be more than just a good church attender. If you hunger and thirst for righteousness, and really want to impact your generation, for Christ's sake. If you truly want to grow up in Christ and become a mature man or woman full of grace and truth, then you have no option but to become "disciplined" in The Lord. This discipline comes best when you if you find and submit yourself to the Pastor the Lord provides for you.
You will have to ask yourself some difficult questions. Who has Grace greater than yours? Who will you allow to hold your feet to the fire? Who will you let supply what you lack until Christ is truly formed in you?
The scriptures are clear and they are true. Hebrews 12:7, 11 "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
Ephesians 4:11-14 "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming."
Hebrews 13:17 "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."
Dear saints, just as it was not natural or comfortable for me to yield to or submit to the wishes and demands of Coach McKim to become an excellent gymnast; neither has it been a cake walk of ease to yield to the instruction of the man of God who The Lord provided as my Pastor. But the fruit it has produced has yielded righteousness, peace and joy unspeakable full of Glory.
I encourage you today to answer the question, "Who is my Pastor?" Discover this personal gift in your life. Follow after him like Elisha did Elijah and you too will discover a life above average. By doing this you will discover the amazing Grace of a life filled the excellence of Christ formed in you. This is the hope of Glory. Amen
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)