This story appears in FCA Magazine’s November/December 2017 issue. Subscribe today!
When I reference “The Thinker,” I’m sure the famous bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin immediately comes to mind.
But, in today’s society, is there a more outdated work of art? Who just sits and thinks anymore? Who stops to ponder or meditate or reflect? It’s a lost art in today’s helter-skelter world of constant entertainment.
Recently, I heard a speaker say it’s actually healthy to be bored sometimes. Boredom, he said, helps us look for some creative thought derived from the inner portion of our minds instead of being bailed out by some external stimulation. Nowadays, when we’re bored, we almost immediately turn to our phones. But imagine if we actually learned to enjoy those quiet moments by thinking and reflecting.
I know what you’re probably thinking: That sounds boring!
However, in reading through Psalm 119, I am convinced that thinking and reflection is a necessity. “I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways,” says verse 15. In verses 55 and 56: “I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD; therefore I obey your instructions. This is how I spend my life: obeying your commandments.”
Sadly, obedience to our Lord through study and reflection seems like a foreign concept to many Christians. We love all the Christian authors, devotionals, podcasts and articles, but if they serve as a continual substitute for alone time with Jesus Himself, then we’re short-changing ourselves.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good,” says Psalm 34:8.
In the coaching world today, I don’t see much reflection time anymore. We seem to consume every waking moment trying to find yet another way to win. But we end up losing so much as a result. Mostly, we lose that precious time that we could spend reflecting on Jesus as He conforms us into His image. It takes lots of time with Jesus to develop godly depth.
Think and reflect before acting: It's a great lesson for anyone.
The attention deficit epidemic is even more severe among today’s youth because of the sheer amount of stimulation and distraction available. According to recent research from the Barna Group, less than one percent of youth culture has a Biblical worldview. In other words, the fundamentals of Jesus Christ—His virgin birth, His deity, His Word, His death on a cross and resurrection—are foreign to American youth. Sadly, and somewhat shockingly, Barna’s research also reveals very low scores of a biblical worldview from even professing Christian youth and adults.
If we truly want to live the life God intended for us, we need to look no further than Jesus’ example of devoting time and energy to intentionally connecting with the Father. He spent so much alone time with His Father. While He was certainly a man of action, surrounded by stimuli and distraction, He often slipped away to reflect on His Father’s will, and that diligence energized Him powerfully.
Consider the well-known example of Jesus clearing the temple in Mark 11. How many of us notice the verse directly before the story? In Mark 11:11 (NIV), Jesus enters Jerusalem and goes to the temple courts. “He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” This was the night before the story we’ve heard so many times! Now, knowing what we know about Jesus, is there much doubt that He spent some of that night reflecting on what He saw? The next day, in verse 15, Jesus again entered the temple courts and “began driving out those who were buying and selling there.” He overturned tables and chairs. He spoke with authority. This is often viewed as an anger-driven fiasco, but I believe—taking the entire chapter into account—His actions proved He was under control. Sure, He was emotional, but He never sinned, and in this case He didn’t respond with the first reaction that all of us are so often guilty of.
Like Jesus, when we reflect on the Word of God and His will, He will empower us to be men and women of action, filled with His timing, touch, and the right emotion. In the Mark 11 example, intensity and passion were the right emotions for Jesus to bring His point across of learning respect for God’s Kingdom.
Think and reflect before acting: It’s a great lesson for coaches, or anyone in any profession.
So, are you negotiating your time with the Lord? Are you prioritizing time on the things of this world when you could be spending it in communion with God? Please don’t!
It is absolutely essential for every one of us to spend daily time with God reflecting, thinking, pondering and meditating on His Word, His will and His world—the Kingdom of God. That time will be the foundation of powerful and wise action for us in the “temple” of the sports world. Let’s think about this!