Among my valuable experiences along life’s journey was being employed by McDonald’s as a fry cook back in the late 1970’s. It didn’t pay much of anything – I think it was $2.85 an hour. I was in Seminary and was soon to be married. I don’t think I really enjoyed a single moment of working there. My hands became raw from daily burns at the grill and my clothes reeked of hamburger grease. I ate large portions of humble pie almost daily. Initially, I thought, “What could be easier than flipping burgers?” I soon discovered it wasn’t so easy. Usually, you had 12 burgers and 6 quarter pounders on the grill to watch. Then you had to get them on the bun, add the condiments and wrap them. The first few days were easy. I had a manager there coaching. He could “dress” those burgers in an instant. When I was left to handle the grill alone, I felt like a lost soul. I was so SLOW. But, as the days went by I got faster and more disciplined. When the happy day came that I was able to train my replacement and move out of the fast food empire forever, I was pretty good at my job. There was a certain satisfaction in reaching that stage.
Discipline is an absolute essential to growth of any kind. What athlete can experience the joy of receiving the Olympic gold without first spending countless hours in exhausting training? No one gets to the Olympics unless properly prepared with painful conditioning, instruction and PRACTICE! The undisciplined athlete will most likely be a losing one…. A musician who doesn’t commit to hours of rehearsal every day will never succeed as a concert master. Musical genius doesn’t just happen; it evolves from vigorous instruction, endless repetition and total commitment to making the music perfect…. So it is with everything in life. That which is worth living for is worth WORKING hard to secure.
Such is the case with our spiritual prowess. How could we let ourselves be less disciplined in our sacred quests than we are in becoming fry cooks at McDonald’s? Yet sometimes we think faith will just “happen.” It is a disciplined calling. In Hebrews 12:11, we read, “For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God’s discipline calls for daily communion in prayer, consistent study of the Word, generous application of that Word, meaningful worship with other trainees, selfless service, hard work, and on and on goes the training. Sure, it is difficult work. But, the rewards are heavenly! How exciting and satisfying it is to lead disciplined lives for Christ. How is your faith training going? Praying that it leads you to being a champion for Christ!