Practices tell a lot about players. It shows who is ready and willing to give it their all. It shows who is committed to getting better. It shows who is committed to the team’s goals. John Wooden talked of what he did when guys were slacking off in practice; he simply cut practice short. He said that practice was a privilege at UCLA. He then simply cut playing time for the guys that wanted to slack – stating that the bench is a great motivating factor.
I am constantly talking to my players and my own kids about work ethic and discipline. I talk about setting their minds to a task and accomplishing it. I talk of the pride and joy of accomplishment from a job well done. Yet the sad fact is that most players would rather talk than work. Thomas Edison said it this way, “Genius (success) is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.”
It is great to dream and plan but at some point the hard work has to begin.
In the church we spend a lot of time planning and dreaming. Yet not a lot of time is spent doing! We may give money for someone else to do the work but few actually put their hands to a task. There is a generally accepted belief about the church called the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the people. At some point we all have to get busy!
I love the story in Nehemiah of the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem. It was a grand task – one that outsiders mocked at because it seemed too difficult. Yet God gave a vision to Nehemiah that led to Nehemiah casting a vision to the people. At this point it was a great “dream” they planned to accomplish. Yet just having a dream wasn’t enough. I love the following verses from Nehemiah chapter 2:
17 Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” 18 And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.
Notice it went beyond a dram to them actually setting their hands to the work. It is a particular mindset that will not be shaken. Chapter 4 shares the ongoing commitment and excitement as the task was being completed. Here is a great verse in that chapter:
6 So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
What mindset do you have? Are you about the Father’s business?
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15)
58With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (The Message)