Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It doesn't take any talent to live the abundant life

It occurred to me this morning that I almost never write about sports. Which is curious considering my virtual obsession with all things games when I was a child. I played everything I could and every game I could get in on. If a ball was involved, I was there.

Fortunately for me, it turned out that I had decent hand-eye coordination and a lot of speed. By the time I was a teenager I was a shoe-in for "first team" in every game my school sponsored. Soccer in the fall (that was "autumn" in England), field-hockey in the spring, cricket in the summer. I was also the "star" of high school track and field. I set scoring records in cricket and speed standards in track that held up for years.

Maybe that's why I've held off on sports metaphors for the most part since I've been a writer. I've always found the "Guys need sports stories or they won't listen in church" idea insulting to the intelligence and spiritual aptitude of men. A lot of the "locker room for Jesus" back-slapping, towel-snapping, football-as-religion talk tends to be chauvinistic, and feeds seamlessly into our cultural predilection toward sexist male-dominant religion.

But this morning - reading about yet another Tampa Bay baseball win - I read a comment by Rays manager Joe Maddon that fits beautifully with my thinking about "Living as if we mean it."

The game was another 1-run victory, squeezed out of a contest that could have gone either way. The result was achieved by pure grit. One of the Rays had put the team in position to win by hustling an in-field single, picking up an extra base on a hit-and-run, and then sliding face-first into home on a sacrifice bunt.

"It takes no talent whatsoever to hustle," Maddon said. "There's no kind of ability involved in hustling."

So here's my VERY RARE sports illustration. Most of the time our commitment to a full, rich, complete life - living like we mean it - is 90% hustle. It doesn't take any talent to live that way. It's not as if God has gifted some of us with a natural proclivity to enjoy life and "too bad about the rest of you."

No - if I'm living like I mean it today, it's because I got up this morning hustling. It doesn't take talent - it takes faithfulness and commitment. We can all be there.

Let's do it!


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