I was recently telling a friend the story of a guy named James who move to my hometown when I was in Jr. High. I remember him because of his attitude and the way he treated his classmates. James dressed somewhat conservatively, was friendly without being pushy and didn’t demonstrate the flash of someone who thought they were pretty special. In fact, I might have just missed the arrival of James in our town except for a quality I had never seen before.
I was in a gym class with James. I had seen him in his street clothes and, as I said, he was just a normal guy. But the first time I saw him in gym shorts, I was shocked by the bulging leg muscles he had. Then, on the track around the football field, I realized that James could fly down the 100 yard dash in a way that surprised all of us. In fact, James could run step for step with the fastest guy in school, who was several inches taller and had legs that would carry him like the wind.
The difference between James and the other guy could be defined in two simple words: work ethic. These days, I am accustomed to seeing high school athletes log long hours in the gym pumping weights and conditioning themselves for whatever sport they play. Back then, I had never really seen such work…until James.
As it ended up, James’s family only stayed in our town a couple of years. Then, for whatever reason, they moved to the town 75 miles south of us. Our high schools played each other in sports, so I got to see James a few times making great plays on their teams. I enjoyed catching up with someone I considered a friend…and it hurt to see the way he helped his teams beat us…all because he paid the price long before he ever arrived on the field.
Last weekend at Stone Ridge Church, we learned how God worked in the life of Elijah the prophet. Elijah went through severe testing, learning to trust God in a time of drought. As he learned faith, God sent him to teach faith to a widow and her son. Those tests…those challenges…kept having higher stakes. Then the day came when God brought Elijah out of the “training room” and onto the “playing field.” Tom Burks will pick up the story this weekend at Stone Ridge Church. You don’t want to miss the second installment of “Don’t Blink!” Can’t be there? Catch the podcast.