It is the month of April, and yet we still get to enjoy March Madness. Even those who are not fans of college basketball get caught up in the hoopla. Every year since 1939 the men’s NCAA basketball tournament crowns the champion of college basketball. Every year we seem to be shocked by lower seeded teams knocking off higher seeded teams. This year it was Dayton making it to the elite eight, but this is not a new phenomenon. Go back thirty years and look at Villanova beating Georgetown, or go back fifty years and see Texas Western take out Kentucky with the first championship team comprised of only African American players. While the viewing public always seems shocked by these teams, the teams themselves do not appear to be surprised by their success. Never has a coach or player from one of these teams responded by saying, “Oh man, I don’t know how we did this, I mean we really don’t deserve to be in this position.” Each of these teams planned to be in the position they’re in and then worked hard to see their plan come to fruition. Plan your work and work your plan.
While we cannot control outcomes, we can decide to work to the best of our present ability. We can work in such a way that positive outcomes are more likely. Perhaps this is what Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he said that he was a believer in luck,
“I find the harder I work the more I have of it [luck].“
The bible and Jesus himself support this principle. Jesus challenges people to think about the end result of their lives and to make a decision to be all in by following him. He regularly asks us to count the cost and to not give up. In one such instance, he tells those listening,
“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
In other words, plan to follow me and be ready to work hard in doing so. The book of Proverbs is replete with sayings that convey the same message, for example,
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (Proverbs 14:23)
This principle applies to all areas our lives. It does not matter if we are setting personal, professional or relational goals (the plan). Once we have determined what we are committed to accomplish; it is time to get busy, to take action. Working hard and trusting Jesus are not oxymoronic. We can do both, we do not have to choose one or the other. In fact, making the decision to follow Jesus must be followed up with the daily decision to work hard.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23)
This work is not just for spring time glory on the court, but for joy which will last for eternity.
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