Daily D – 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. 1 THESSALONIANS 5:14-15 (NLT)
I played in a golf tournament yesterday. It was a best-ball scramble. The team I played on did not challenge for anything but last place. Thankfully, we did not achieve that ranking.
Our team leader is an excellent golfer with great distance off the tee and finesse around the greens. Then there was my buddy who plays barefoot and who used my clubs. After a few errant shots, he playfully blamed my equipment. I said, “A good craftsman never blames his tools.” He replied, “These are not my tools.” Touche’.
The third member of our team has played little golf. His two experiences prior to the tournament were limited to Putt-Putt and Top Golf. He has never had a lesson. However, he has a great personality. Unfortunately, this does not count for much on a golf course.
His golf clubs looked like something you would buy as a kit for fifty bucks or so and assemble yourself. He had no idea what club to hit when. He did not possess a putter. Fortunately, he used a red ball and seldom hit it far enough to lose.
Did I mention that on my last swing on the practice range that I hurt my back? I had trouble walking. I have not stood up straight since that fateful swing. The four injections I had in my back last year to relieve the pain of bulging disks may need to be repeated.
All in all, it was a fun day.
Imagine if you were a golf instructor. The way you would work with our team leader would be much different from how you would work with the first-time golfer on our team. This would be different in turn from how you would work with my barefoot buddy and with me. Each of us requires an individualized plan of instruction and practice.
Life is like that, isn’t it? Every person requires a specific growth plan. Spiritual development is no different. We start where we are, not where someone says we should be.
Since no one is a finished product, we should be patient with one another. As unfinished masterpieces in progress, we each require specific growth plans.
Paul talks about some of the people he knew in Thessalonica. Some were lazy. They needed a warning. Some were timid. They needed encouragement. Some were weak and required tender care. Everyone requires patience. No one deserves anything but our best.
Think about those in your spheres of influence. What do they need? How will you address those needs to their benefit?
How about your growth plan? Where do you require growth and development? Who can help you with that?
We had a fun time yesterday. It would have been more fun if my buddy had worn shoes and played with his own equipment. It would have been more fun if our new golfer had experienced at least a lesson or two. It would have been wonderful if I had not hurt my back.
If each one of us follows a prescriptive development plan and we get together for this same tournament a year from now, we will have much more fun. We will also finish closer to the top than the bottom. The same can be true for you and your team. Wouldn’t it be nice to challenge for more wins?
I will make growth and development a daily emphasis.
Our Father, you tell us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are your masterpieces. You also tell us in Philippians 1:6 that you are still working on us. We are all works in progress. Thank you for taking us where we are and moving us where we need to be. Mold us, shape us, fill us, use us to live lives that honor you and serve others. Give us great patience as we grow together. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)