Saturday, August 11, 2012

Count the Cost Attitude

"'Beach volleyball is not going to be my career anymore,’ May-Traenor told reporters shortly after the match.  ‘It's time for me to be a wife. I want to be a mom. I want to share this time with my family.  All of us athletes sacrifice more of the family than people maybe realize. It's getting back to that.’”

These southern California girls are amazing.  I've watched them play in person and followed their careers loosely for a long time – even before they were partners, when Misty partnered with Holly McPeak (another OC girl).  My fascination with them started when Anne and I happened to catch a few tourneys at Manhattan Beach, and have seen some pretty amazing athletes there.  But my interest grew because these girls have some special gifts:

  • Natural ability

  • Work Ethic

  • Sacrifice

  • Attitude

  • Fun
I once watched a video about their training.  Their skills, strength, endurance and flexibility are amazing naturally, but they combine it with astonishing hard work and sacrifice.  Sacrificing family time is mentioned by Misty above, but seeing how hard she works when she’s sacrificing that time makes it almost incomprehensible.  And if you just watched that, you’d come to the conclusion that it’s just unattainable by anyone but them.

But then there’s Kerri.  She was a good volleyball player in college, but that’s indoor, on a team with coaches, etc.  She had NO experience on the beach at all.  So her game grew from nothing but natural ability to arguably the best in the world in very short amount of time.  How?

It all comes down to attitude and fun.  Most people look at their sacrifices and hard work and it seems just too hard, too much, and not pleasant.  Most people would complain and gripe and whine.  But Misty yells at her trainer to make it harder!  Why?  Because they enjoy the sacrifice!  They find the work fun!  They have an attitude that makes them different from all other gifted athletes, and it’s that they LOVE their work.

Paul had the attitude:
“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I‘ve suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him … that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.  (Philippians 3:8-11)
Do you see it?  Paul saw the “surpassing value” of knowing Christ & his power … he wanted to be partners with Jesus in suffering!   That’s not a sickness Paul had, it’s an attitude.  It’s all about attitude.

Now read these words of our Lord, from Luke 14, and read them very carefully:
Large crowds were going along with him; and he turned and said to them,
“If anyone comes to me, and doesn't hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and even his own life, he can’t [is unable to] be my disciple.

Whoever doesn't carry his own cross and come after me can’t [is unable to] be my disciple.  

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and isn’t able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him….

So then, none of you can [is able to] be my disciple who doesn't give up all....  

Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned?
It is useless … it’s thrown out.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus says this to the “Large crowds” who are going along with him.  Luke didn’t say “following” him – and there’s the clue.  These people were curious and interested in Jesus and what he could do – especially for them.  Jesus’ harsh teaching finishes with the warning: “He who has ears to hear….”  That’s because Jesus knows what his lesson will do: it’ll separate those who have the attitude from those who don’t.

Some people see the value of being Jesus’ disciple, we don’t want to be “useless,” but rather we WANT to know Christ and His power!  But others count the cost of the work, sacrifice and effort … and simply refuse.  They will say they “can’t,” but the truth is - they won’t (will not).  Again, look at Jesus’ words and see that Jesus says “does not” hate father, etc. and “does not” carry his own cross.  That’s something we can DO – all of us.  But when we refuse to do what he has asked us … then we don’t get the ability that comes from it.  (re-read that last sentence)

In the bible, the word for attitude is almost always “heart.”  Nobody enjoys doing all the things God asks of us – nobody.  Jesus didn’t enjoy His cross, Misty didn’t enjoy her training, Paul didn’t enjoy beatings, and we won’t enjoy everything, either.  But we can have fun, peace, and revel in what we can do.  We can take up our cross like Jesus “for the joy before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12.2).

Count the cost, establish your own attitude, and then learn to live with it.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14
Choose life – choose the “hard” way - and let's find that narrow gate!

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