John 18:33-37 (NRSV)
Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
In a USA today article from 2005, a panel of sports experts put together a list of the 10 most difficult things to do in sports.
I don't think it was a very scientific list --- but one that a group of wannabe athletes made based on what they know --- or at least on what they thought they knew.
10. Downhill skiing
The downhill is an 80-mph exercise in balance and control. With little protection, ski racers hurl themselves down an icy mountain course, alternately digging in their edges to carve the fastest line through turns and putting their skis flat on the snow to gain speed in the straightaways. They fight gravitational and centrifugal forces at every stage in the race.
9. Saving a penalty kick in soccer
On the soccer field, the goalkeeper's job is to protect a goal that is 24 feet wide and eight feet high — 192 square feet waiting to swallow a ball about 9 inches in diameter. During a penalty kick, the goalie has 0.25 seconds to move and block a ball traveling at more than 60 mph.
8. Competing in the Tour De France
The Tour de France covers more than 2,500 miles in three weeks and requires a variety of cycling skills that must be performed at levels far beyond those of recreational riders. On flat stretches of the course, tour riders must maintain speeds more than 30 mph for hours on stretch. During mountain climbs, cyclists must be able to ride up mountain roads with grades as steep as 15%.
7. Running a Marathon
Running a 26.2-mile race is physically demanding and requires a runner to be disciplined, well-trained and able to withstand pain. Runners, including elite marathoners, often suffer from nagging injuries in the lower back, knees, shins, ankles, Achilles' tendons and feet. However, most runners will say the reward of finishing a marathon justifies the pain.
6. Landing A Quad jump in Ice Skating
Executing a quad toe loop requires a skater to balance height and rotation while skating on a metal blade a quarter of an inch wide. During a successful quad jump, a skater will reach heights of 18 inches above the ice and experience 300 pounds of centrifugal force, all while spinning four times in just over .5 seconds.
5. Returning A Serve in Tennis
Traveling at over 130 mph, a tennis serve by today's top tennis players is traveling at 185 feet per second. At that speed, a player trying to return the serve has a half second to react and return the serve.
4. Hitting A Tee Shot Long and Straight
Driving a golf ball far and long seems to be an easy thing, until you try it; even professionals have trouble with it.
3. Pole Vaulting
Vaulting is a matter of redirecting the kinetic energy of the runner's approach speed upward, aided by a long fiberglass pole. To do it, athletes need speed for the sprint, strength for lift-off and flexibility to bend the body over the bar.
2. Race Car Driving
Skilled drivers encounter a host of problems, but rounding the corners of the track is equivalent to having three 300-pound linemen pushing you for three of the four hours it takes to drive a race.
1. Hitting a Baseball
Considering that a major-league pitch can reaches speeds more than 95 mph, hitters have only 0.4 seconds to find the ball, decide where the ball is going and swing the bat.
What do you think?
What would you change to the list?
I was surprised that golf was considered the 4th most difficult.
While that list is kind of fun --- at the end of the day -- it really isn't all that important.
But what if you were to make a list of the 10 most difficult things to do in life --- what would you put down?
If you were to search on the internet --- you would come up with all kinds of lists that all seemed based on where somebody was in life at that particular moment.
But if we were to try and create just a list, what would you include?
Here is my list --- but i want to admit I used other people's lists for ideas.
10. Quitting an addiction ---- drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pornography
9. Being a servant --- truly doing humanitarian deeds for no reward
8. Be-loving God in the midst of the challenges of life (keeping faith)
7. Forgiveness (accepting and giving)
6. Regaining trust that had been lost
5. Loving those you don't like
4. Raising children
3. Removing life support from a loved one
2. Burying a child
The life list is a tough list, but those last two — having to make decisions about life or death or losing a child or really any love one — are really difficult!
If you have ever been in the position where you had to decide to allow someone to go into hospice care, or to remove life support --- even when your head knows what the right thing to do is--- it is a terrible choice.
Top world athletes, even on their hardest days, never make that kind of choice.
Those kinds of decisions are not what we expect life to be about!
Those kinds of decisions are not what we expect life to be about!
Does anybody remember Tom Laughlin?
He was famous in the 70's as the writer, actor and director of the Billy Jack movies.
Later in life he began working with cancer patients, lecturing and treating the psychology of cancer.
Steven Pressfield, in his classic work: The War of Art quotes Tom Laughlin.
And the point that Laughlin makes is that:
The moment a person learns that they have a terminal cancer a profound shift takes place in their psyche. At one stroke he becomes aware of what really matters
A simple tragic diagnosis is sometimes what it takes to help us understand what is of ultimate importance.
· it's usually not another meeting
· or a bigger car
· or larger house
· it's not even a bigger paycheck
Those things that were an irritation only days before the diagnosis are no longer important
What matters most in our lives is . . . RELATIONSHIPS
Go back and look at my suggest list of the 10 hardest things to do
---- everyone of them is about relationships
Laughlin went on and posed an interesting question:
Is it possible that cancer is the result of our failure to live our lives the way that they were intended to be lived?
Could cancer be the result of our un-lived lives extracting their vengeance upon us?
You have to wonder . . .
Laughlin even suggested, that when people with cancer began to live their lives fully --- that sometimes the cancer would go into remission
Laughlin suggests that --- but I can find no scientific evidence for his claims
But there may be some truth to it
What I do know is that for most of us --- the most difficult thing in the world is to live the life that God intended for us.
1. Live the life God intended for us
It is easier to fill it with other things
Chasing the Almighty dollar
It is easier to fill it with other things --- than to risk it all for what our insides (our spirit) keep telling us to be.
At the end of the day ---- what holds us back more than anything else is FEAR
And as crazy as this sounds; what I think we are most fearful of is becoming what we are truly supposed to be.
This morning, we celebrate the baptism of Caleb Jon Caddick
Today we place a marker on the road of his life
What will become of Caleb's life?
Do any of us know?
God has blessed Caleb with a calling
Our job, and his --- is to help him figure out what that is --- and then to help him not to be afraid to pursue it.
Our scripture this morning is that key moment, when Jesus claims his calling.
Jesus says that he is to be king of our lives
Lord of our lives
Was Jesus afraid to pursue that calling?
I don't know
But Jesus announces this calling in the face of the reality that by doing so will cost him his life
What is it that God is wanting you to pursue?
What have you been afraid of becoming?
One of Bob Goff's favorite phrases is one that has become very important to me:
God sees who we are becoming, not who we were!