Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What happens at practice doesn't stay at practice

In basketball, there is an element of natural talent.  There are the principles of good coaching.  There is the necessity of teamwork.  But it all comes down to practice.

What wins the game is the daily practice, be it basketball, or music, or a gracious heart.

As the halftime buzzer sounded last night, a young man from the opposing team lobbed the ball from the other side of the court.  It slid right through the net.  The crowd was astonished.  How did he do that?

It wasn't pure luck.

My guess is that he has done it a thousand times in an empty gym after practice, in arenas when no one was around, at the local park where the hoops have no nets, and on his family's driveway after everybody else has gone home.

If you want to shoot three-pointers, you have to practice three-pointers.  When an unexpected opportunity comes up in a game or life, what I have been working on is revealed.

What happens at practice doesn't stay at practice, but works itself out in life.

Kindness and grace are the half-court shots of life.  In the heat of the moment and in the midst of crisis, knowing the right thing to do is great, but what really matters is how much I have practiced doing it in the every days.

Aim at love and grace.  Pick up the ball and shoot again.  That is why practice is called "practice."  It is the repeated and regular exercise of an activity or skill so as to acquire proficiency in it.  Give grace to that irate driver.  Love that impossible kid.  Be kind when it is not expected.  Extend generosity to a stranger or that not-so-favorite uncle.  Bear gentleness in the face of hostility.  Seek out the good.  Have a pocket full of mercy.  Over and over and over again.

How should  I have said that?  What would have been kind?
What should I have done?  What would grace look like in that situation?

Practicing those things changes the game entirely.

God's Word abides in us and works its way out in immeasurable ways.
Practice it....one shot after another.
Grace is not often noticed.
      And more often, it is not recognized at all.
   But it always 
          changes life in significant ways.

So also good works are conspicuous,
and even those that are not
cannot remain hidden.

                         1 Timothy 5.25

No comments: