Anyone for tennis?

Facebook seems to know that I love playing tennis and it very kindly sent me an ad for some sweatshirts thinking I might like to buy one. The shirt that I was drawn to had a very attractive inscription on it – The BEST average tennis player ever. If I had been in the market for a new sweatshirt I would have been very tempted to buy it. It was that word “BEST” that attracted me. Somehow I always want to be the best at things, especially those things that I do a lot. Oh I have learned well over the years, and I often joke with other players that I am very good at loosing, because I have had so much experience at it. But I do like to win. The problem is, though, that if you beat some folks at tennis you go up a level, and begin to play better players. Then they either beat you, or maybe, after a while you can beat them too. So you go up another level, and are now playing against even better players. And so it continues.

            Everybody loves a winner. We have probably all seen those movies where someone is rejected by their friends and sometimes their family. Then they go on to excel in some area, like maybe become a champion golfer, or wrestler, and now they are loved. I have watched a couple of those, and they left me wondering whether if the person had not been the best at something they would never have found love and acceptance. Just stories though, although as a child I frequently fantasised about being better at sports so that I would be more popular. I thought I had left all that behind when I became a Christian.

            I love to write. I love to share what I have learned in my walk with the Lord. But I am well aware that I am not the best Christian writer out there, in fact not even close.  And the hardest part is that all this excellent writing is readily available. It is the same with speaking opportunities. I have noticed that a lot of people that used to attend the same church as me on a Sunday are not bothering to tune in to the live service that goes out every weekend. I think they have found some more interesting speakers online. At least I hope that is what is happening, and not that they are not listening to anyone. The truth is, though, that there are a lot of good speakers available on the internet, and I listen to some of them myself, just not on a Sunday morning.

            After I wrote my first book, and paid to get it published, I said that I would not write another until I at least broke even on the first. I haven’t broken even, but I have finished my second book. Like I said, I love to write. It has been edited, and is close to being ready to be published. My working title for this new book is Not Insignificant, and basically it is about my struggles with feeling that I have nothing to offer. When I measure myself by the world’s standards I come up short. The world, my culture, makes me feel insignificant. My relationship with the Lord changes that. I feel loved, accepted, valuable, and I feel that I have something to pass on to others. And yet here I am again hesitating in my writing, wondering if it is worth trying to be heard in an already busy and crowded Christian market.

            I play tennis because I enjoy it. It is good exercise, it is social, and I love being outside. Yes I enjoy winning, but as long as I play a reasonable game I do not mine losing either. I am not the best, but then most of us are not the best. We just have fun. I write because I have something to say. I have experienced something of God’s love, I have enjoyed a relationship with him for over fifty years now, and I have been through many things – some I wish I hadn’t. I have read all through the Bible at least thirty times, I have attended some seminary, I have travelled quite extensively, married, raised three children, buried one, and I have lived. Most importantly, although I am not the best writer I am writing because I believe the Lord wants me to. He encourages me to continue. I have no expectations of becoming famous, or winning any awards, or making a lot of money. But one day I want to hear the Lord say to me “Well done good and faithful servant, you used what you were given to build my Kingdom.”

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