The Shots You Don’t Take

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

Take some time today to meditate upon this quote from the legendary Hall of Fame hockey player. It is profound and very true.

Maybe you feel stuck in a rut. Maybe you feel trapped in your career. Are you yearning to do something else, and wonder what’s out there? But then the fears, doubts and “what if’s” come into play and you quickly douse out the flame.

Look at the Henry Ford’s and Thomas Edison’s of the world. They repeatedly tried and failed. They kept trying, recalculating and pushing. Look at what happened.

Meditate upon the following passage from the wisest man to ever walk the earth, King Solomon.

He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know what is the way of wind, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4-6

  • If you are waiting for perfect conditions, Solomon said, you will never be a successful farmer. The same applies to every endeavor of life. Perfect conditions exist only in heaven.
  • If you are waiting for confirmation that what you are setting out to do is going to be 100% successful, then you will never get started. Solomon said, you “do not know.” But this “not knowing” can be paralyzing to many of us. Paralyzing.

I’m not encouraging you to step out without seeking God’s counsel and the advice of wise counselors. What I am encouraging you today to do is to remember that God in Scripture encourages us to do the very thing Wayne Gretzky advised.

Take a shot!

Moses was faithful even when…(4 of 6)

Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant… (Hebrews 3:5)

#4 Moses was faithful to God even when he doubted his own value and effectiveness.

Even Moses got tired. Leading the Israelites in the wilderness was a daily beating. In Numbers chapter 11, it really started to wear on Moses. He started to wonder, “Why me, God?” He felt alone and ineffective. In this chapter, we find Moses at the point where he cried out for God to either send him help or kill him!

Moses felt alone. God came to his aid. God sent Moses helpers.

The prophet Elijah who lived much later than Moses also went through the same thing. He felt alone and useless. His life’s work was in vain, in his eyes. He asked for God to take his life. God made Elijah aware that there were 7000 others who were also faithful. God also comforted Elijah and sent him helpers.

You are going to feel alone at times. You are going to feel ineffective and you’re going to wonder if you are really making a difference. There will be times that you feel like the only person around who gets it.

Questioning our impact is part of the process.  Frustration does not equal failure.  Allowing the frustration to cause us to quit is failure. Its part of the growth process, and it frankly stinks, but if we have honest hearts we will be better for it.

Sometimes we doubt our value and effectiveness because:

  • We are looking for immediate results to long-term endeavors.
  • We are just plain worn out, and have become unrealistic and shortsighted. We might just need a break and a breath of fresh air.
  • We have painted the wrong picture of what success is. Maybe you need to sit down with an objective, wise advisor to help you see things more clearly. That advisor might help you redesign your goals and strategy. He might help you redefine what “success” means in whatever it is you are doing.
  • We are listening to the few complainers causing us problems and not paying attention to the others who are really benefiting from what we are trying to do. It is easy to see the critics, the complainers, and non-responders.
  • We are focusing on our efforts instead of God’s efforts working through us and through others. Remember Moses and Elijah both felt alone, but they were not really alone. They were making it about them at that point and had to have their spiritual eyesight adjusted.

Moses was faithful to God, even when:

  1. He did not want to do the job.
  2. The lack of enthusiasm made the job even harder.
  3. He received little appreciation.
  4. He doubted his own value and effectiveness.

That is a faithful man. Are you like Moses?

Promises in the Heart

When God tears the Kingdom from Solomon in I Kings 11 he makes a significant promise to Jeroboam.  “I will take you, and you shall reign over whatever you desire, and you shall be king over Israel.  Then it will be, that if you listen to all that I command you and walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight by observing My statutes and My commandments… then I will be with you and build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.” (I Kings 11:37-38)

In I Kings 12:20, God keeps His promise placing Jeroboam as king over the northern kingdom.  Unfortunately, just a few short verses later, we find Jeroboam setting up places of worship, casting idols, and devising his own feast days.  (I Kings 12:25-33)  In verse 30 it says “…this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.”

What happened?  Why did Jeroboam ignore God’s instruction, God’s promise and go about establishing his own system of worship?  The reason is in verses 26 and 27, “Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom will return to the house of David.  If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”  

  • He looked at the situation with human wisdom.
  • He was scared of what he KNEW would happen.
  • He devised his own solution to fix the problem.

And all this started with what was in his heart (verse 26).  The kingdom was in his heart.  The power was in his heart.  Being important, and influential, and wealthy was all in his heart.  God’s promise, and trust in that promise, was not in his heart.

There are so many areas of my life where this lesson applies but I see it most often in my career.  How many times to do I bend the rules, fudge the truth, misrepresent reality because I just KNOW what will happen.  I just KNOW what the boss will think or how my employees will react.  I just KNOW there will be negative consequences if I stand up, stick out, speak up, or own up.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33, regarding our physical needs, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  My job is to put Him and His kingdom first…He will take care of the rest.  But this promise means absolutely nothing if we have filled our hearts with the junk and false promises of this world.  So consider the promises of God and ask yourself:  what’s in my heart?