Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No I in Team

Have you been following Izaic Yorks?  Yeah, me neither.  Not being a big fan of NCAA track & field I had no idea who this young man was until I heard about him on the radio.  Seems Mr. Yorks ran the fastest mile ever by an American collegian in a recent meet.  At just under 3:54, Izaic ran a mile at about the speed I bike a mile.  The real surprise, however, is that he did not run the mile at the NCAA championships which he qualified for.  Why not, you ask?  You can read about it here, but the upshot is that he had already committed to running the Distance Medley Relay with three of his teammates.  The qualifying heat for the mile is right before the DMR so Izaic had to choose which one to run.  Running the mile would effectively ruin their chances to win the DMR.  Izaic had promised his teammates he would run the relay and he evidenced no hesitation in keeping his word.

Now here's the thing, his teammates, his coach, and everyone aware of the story would have understood if Izaic bowed out of the relay to have a shot at being an individual champion.  In fact, with track & field's emphasis on individual achievement, all these people probably expected Izaic to do so.  Izaic Yorks, however, considered his word to be more important than all that.  It's more than refreshing, it's amazing.  I know it shouldn't be but it is.

What is God doing in me?  Even if I wonder what He will do through me, I am in danger of missing the greater purpose.  When I focus on God working in me, I might forget what I promised so long ago.  When I gave my life to Jesus, I agreed that whatever He wanted was what I'd do.  As I learn more about Jesus, I am coming to understand that He wants to do things in us rather than just in me.  Keeping my word might require me doing something that will be recognized as a church thing rather than an LP thing.  That might seem obvious but I find it easier to do what Jesus wants when I'm pretty sure someone will pat me on the back for it.  What about you?

To be sure, this does not remove my individual responsibility.  Izaic still had to put in the work himself.  No one can run the training laps for you; no one can push through the pain on your behalf; no one can read your Bible, pray, or serve the needy in your place.  When choosing where or how we will serve, however, Izaic's example bears remembering.  On race day, he chose to run with his team rather than in an event where his name would be listed by itself.  Oh, that I would make the same kind of decision while following Jesus.

By the way, Izaic is in the habit of keeping his promises.  He started some time ago and I will be watching the Rio games in hopes of seeing him fulfill that promise also.

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