Dr. David Jeremiah tells the story of Wa-Tho-Huk. (Yes, that’s his actual name.) He was a young Indian boy who dreamed of being a professional football player. When the other boys were playing in the fields of Oklahoma, he was running and kicking balls. Practicing long hours, committed to developing his strength and skills, Wa-Tho-Huk eventually played football for a small Indian school, scoring 25 touchdowns and 198 points in one season and setting a record that was held for years. He became a star baseball player for the New York Giants and won both the decathlon and pentathlon gold medals in the Olympics. In 1950, Wa-Tho-Huk, who changed his name to Jim Thorpe, was voted the best athlete of the first half of the century. All these years later, when people talk about the greatest athlete of all time, someone will always mention Jim Thorpe.
John Maxwell said, “Champions don’t become champions in the ring – they are merely recognized there.” It begins long before that in a gym somewhere. Working out and sweating it out, day after day. Doing the little things that bring big results. Running, lifting weights, sparring with other boxers, jumping rope, following a disciplined diet and a relentless regimen that seems to have no end. You name the sport or the field of endeavor and I will guarantee you there’s a lot more to it than anyone knows, if you’re going to make it to the top.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, said it took roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. One example he gave was a team of psychologists in Germany who studied violin students. They asked the students how many hours of practice they averaged over the course of their careers. All of them had begun playing around the age of five. But by the time they were eight, defined practice times were set. By the age of twenty, these elite violinists were averaging 10,000 hours of practice each.
If you’re going to be a champion, you not only must be willing to do what no one else will do, but you also have to do it, and keep doing it day after day.
2018 is mere hours away. So what will it be for you this year? Same old, same old? The redundant life … again? Doing the same things, getting the same results and living with the same regrets? Or are you willing and ready to make this New Year different from any year before?
I want to challenge you to become a champion this next year. A champion for God! I want to challenge you to sit down and make a list of what you think it would take, and determine if you’ve got what it takes to do it. I believe you do. But here’s the catch: YOU have to do it.
Here are some starters for your list:
• Have a quiet time every day, spending time in God’s Word and in prayer talking to Him. (There are lots of good Bible reading programs to choose from. YouVersion is one of the best online programs to use.)
• Live your faith every day. Get out of bed in the morning a fired-up follower of Jesus and go to bed every night a fired-up follower of Jesus. No matter who sees you, they see Jesus in you.
• Be in worship every Sunday, unless you are sick or out of town. (No exceptions. No excuses. No reason to ever miss.)
• Find a place where you can serve every week in God’s church, using your gifts and talents to bless others and build up the body of Christ.
• Give God the first ten percent of whatever He gives you every week. (No exceptions. No excuses.)
• Tell everyone you can about Christ and His Church. Don’t just be a passive witness. Be a passionate evangelist.
Patty Berg said, “A Champion must have the will to win not just the wish to win … You have to have an attitude that says, ‘I KNOW I can do it! And I’m GOING to do it!’”
Are you willing to do “whatever it takes” to be a champion for God?
If you’re going to be a champion, you not only must be willing to do what no one else will do, but you also have to do it.
Every champion has a checklist of certain things they do. Certain habits they follow. Certain disciplines they are absolutely committed to. Certain things they refuse to give in on or back away from. That’s why they’re champions. The things on their checklist and their relentless dedication to them are what elevates them above everyone else in their field. It doesn’t matter what their name is or the field they are competing in. What drives their success are the little things they’ve made a big commitment to. That’s why they’re champions.
So, will you be a champion for God in 2018?
What’s on YOUR list will answer that question.© 2017. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.