“Then Jesus said…’The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.’” Matthew 23:1-4 (NIV)
Have you heard the phrase, “Practice makes perfect”? What about “Do as I say, not as I do”?
Jase may be known first and foremost for his love and skill of hunting, but he also has a sincere love for playing golf. The difference in the two is that he grew up hunting, so it comes very natural to him. He handles a shotgun like it’s an extension of his arm. On the other hand, he wasn’t exposed to the game of golf until he was an adult. He quickly found that he was very fond of the game, but he just didn’t know much about how to play a successful round. He spent many hours in our front yard driving golf balls into the field next to our house. He would make a game out of it with Reed and Cole, who were barely taller than the overgrown bushes and wild grass, to see who could bring back the most balls.
Over the years, Jase has spent thousands of hours trying to perfect his golf game. Some days and weeks, his scores reflect what he wants them to. Other days, weeks and even months, he ends up frustrated with his skill and is determined to fix whatever problems have crept up on him. His competitive nature won’t let him quit. He even installed a putting green (and a spotlight) in our back yard so that he can get a few strokes in every day...or night.
When I started thinking about this devo, I didn’t have politicians in mind. But after typing the above scripture, they immediately entered my train of thought. Lying and selfish politicians are not new in our society, not even in our country. Political corruption started many years ago. In the 33 years that Jesus lived on this earth, I’m sure he had thousands upon thousands of conversations, yet only a few are recorded in the Bible. One of those few conversations is highlighted above. Apparently, this was an important instruction from Jesus to his followers.
Most of us aren’t politicians, but most of us are disgusted with their “those rules don’t apply to me” philosophy. However, as adults, we can easily fall into that line of thinking if we aren’t careful. If we as parents are dishonest to our friends and family, our children see that and take note. We should not be surprised when they start doing the same. When we look the other way when a homeless person asks us for change in front of the convenience store, our children see our lack of compassion and take note. When we choose just one more drink that we think we can handle, our children (and anyone who is watching) see our absence of self-control. Statistics prove that they take note. However, when we reach down deep and choose truth over lying lips; when we choose to be uncomfortable for a moment to extend kindness to the impoverished; when we choose to do the hard things, our children take note.
Some things in life come easy for us, and some things do not. While I can assure you that you will never drive by a shooting range and see Jase aiming at a target, you have a pretty good chance of seeing him on the driving range or putting green on a nearby golf course. He understands that if he wants to perfect the game of golf, he will have to practice. Come rain, wind, snow or blazing Louisiana sun, he will continue to practice. And practice. And practice.
What is one thing that you would like to do better in life? Make a plan. Practice may not make you perfect, but it will definitely change your game.
Have a meaningful week!