John 13: 1-15 “God’s Kingdom Feast: Washing the Feet.”
This morning I went to the YMCA to exercise, and I parked in a spot that was close to the swimming pool. There was a man in there who looked like he had been swimming for at least a little while. I took the kids in with me, worked out, and about an hour later, walked back to my car. And that man was still there, still swimming!
I started thinking about lots of things: I cannot imagine swimming back and forth, back and forth, for over an hour. I remember hearing on the radio not too long ago that successful businesses perfect the process for doing one thing – building a car, making a food product, etc. – and repeating that process over and over, and then celebrating that successful repetition. This man was repeating the same process – swim for few strokes, glide, then flipping over and pushing off the wall – over and over. Worship and faith can be like that. We find a process of growing spiritually that works for us, whether it is morning or evening prayer, Bible Study, or reading a devotion, and then we repeat that process. We might not see growth immediately, but over time it makes a difference. It makes a difference for us spiritually like it did for that man physically, who was obviously in great condition.
I also found myself pondering the commitment and determination that it takes to devote yourself to a process like this man was committed to, and wondering whether I had that kind of devotion in my own spiritual practices. If I get going on something in my spiritual practice and prayer life, and it does not seem to work, I have a tendency to change course to try and find what does work. I asked myself, “What would it be like if you committed to stay the course for a longer period of time, and allow yourself to be changed over time, instead of immediately?”
Finally, I realized that plateaus do take place, and somewhere this man had to have a change-up of physical activity from time to time, in order to break through a plateau. Maybe once or twice a year, he took a week and ran a few miles a day instead of swimming them. Spiritually, we have to do that as well. If we have had success with a prayer or Bible Study practice for a while, but eventually run into a rut, we have to make changes; not forever, but long enough for the original practice to be fresh again. I hope that as you engage your spiritual journey, that you build up the kind of spiritual conditioning that this man had built physically. Enjoy worship this morning. Blessings, Sonny