"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


          It happens to most of us. We're bopping along, living the life, and something interrupts our stride. Stopped, we can't resist looking back to measure our progress--Mistake #1.
          Suddenly it appears that instead of running life's race, we've been running in place; others, later starters, have past us and are closer to the prize. So instead of starting the race anew we stand there kicking stones and watching others race past while we're going, "AW, SHUCKS ... 'TAINT WORTH IT!"--Mistake #2
          The great difference between us and those still running is simply that we've stopped to feel sorry for ourselves. Sure, some can run faster, and some have more stamina, but we're not loosing the race because they're better; we're loosing because we've stopped running.
          Not everyone can run fast. Not everyone can summon gobs of stamina. Those are physical limitations. But everyone can, if they won't quit, finish the race.
          Confession time: I'm naturally a quitter. I don't compete because I've never won. But despite what I feel, the truth is I've never won because I don't compete. My " 'TAINT WORTH IT!" statement goes something like this: "Oh, poor me. Everybody's better at (writing, praying, memorizing the Bible, resisting temptation ... fill in your own "poor me" copout), so why should I bother?"
          The answer is simple: I didn't chose this race; God did! And He didn't put me at the starting line only to stop along the way and kick stones. He didn't even put me in the race only to win; there's just one first-place, and He's already finished and collected His reward. God put me in this race to finish the best way I can, and by doing so, I win!
          I'm engaging in this peptalk for one reason: I've stopped writing, and I'm discouraged. Yet, I now realize God put me at the starting line with a gift for using words and a passion to communicate. If I run a distance but stop to kick stones I'm throwing His gift and His commission back in His face ... I'm kicking the stones directly at Him. If I stop before the Finish Line I'm staring Him in the eye and saying, "You're wrong, God! I can't do it."
          Is quitting the best I have in me? Is disobedience the legacy I want to leave? Since God put me in this race, I know the answer to those questions is a resounding, "NO!"

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