Monday, May 10, 2010


Setting Our Sights

Mark Roberts writes about his high-jump career in high school:
Mr. Barnes encouraged me to set my sights on something even greater. He envisioned me clearing 6-2, maybe even 6-4. Perhaps I could medal in the league championships. But something happened in me once I cleared six feet. I had fulfilled my great expectations. Or, you might say, I had fulfilled my less-than-great expectations. Something in me believed that I could go no higher. And so, as you can imagine, I went no higher. No amount of training or encouragement could get me over anything beyond six feet. My mind set the limit I would never exceed.

As I think back on my lackluster high jumping career, I have often considered how my expectations both urged me on and then limited me. Somehow, I knew deep inside that I could get to six feet. And, somehow, I also knew deep inside that I simply couldn’t go any higher. I wonder what would have happened if I had allowed myself to dream big. Of course I’ll never know, because now I think it’s a feat worthy of a medal if I can jump up into my bed.

I wonder where in my life today I’m limiting myself by my less-than-great expectations. What are my “six-foot-barriers” now?
There is a serious lesson these for evangelicalism. we set our sights on salvation when it is something far greater that God has in mind for us. He does not wish us to be merely saved, but remade. Our goal is not to get into heaven, but to restore creation to that which He made it to be.

More - our Lord is far more than merely our coach. His is not a suggestion that we are free to ignore. When we fail to meet His undeniably higher-than-our-own expectations we are unaligned with His will.

There is something else to think about too - When we do endeavor to "dream big" we need to do it on His terms. Note that Mark's coach did not set goals for him that had to do with achieving heights, not winning medals. Too often when we seek think big, we set goals that are more like winning medals that achieving performance. We wan the nicest sanctuary or the biggest attendance, but those, like medals, are things that depend on the particular competition and factors out of our control. What we should focus on is who we are and how close we are coming to being who God intended us to be.

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