Monday, May 17, 2010

The Rubber Band Theory

But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked - Luke 12:48

One of my closest friends in junior college was a high jumper on the track team.  He was working on a new record and kept getting closer with each workout.  I promised that I would watch him but only if he would go for the record.  It would not be easy for me to come out as I was on the tennis team and worked three different jobs after school.  One day, the stars were in alignment and I got to see my buddy compete in a tri-meet against his toughest opponents.

On the inside, I was in awe at how high my buddy could jump, but on the outside, I kept asking him when he was going for the record.  I was getting under his skin.  Many of the other high jumpers had been eliminated in the early rounds and it was down to my buddy and two others.  He asked them if they wouldn't mind skipping protocol and raising the bar to a level that he was aiming for (probably to just shut me up).  I witnessed my friend, Steve, soar like an eagle as he broke the record.

Steve was the same way in the classroom.  By the end of our second year, Steve had already been offered a full track scholarship to Arizona State University or a full academic scholarship.  While we hung out together, we came up with crazy "theories".  His was the basketball theory.  "Each course I take is like a member of my basketball team", he said.  "Each must be play to his best ability and a rotation is necessary so that everyone can rest."  His theory was tested each year, while he carefully logged the number of hours that each player was on the court.  He maintained a 4.0 GPA for all four years and went on to get a masters degree.  After graduating, he soared even higher and became a senior manager for his company.

Steve's basketball theory served him well.  He grew up in a family of non-Christians.  I sat next to him on the first day of school and sensed there was something about him that made him interesting to be around.  He had just become a Christian and he would be someone that would be around any time I needed a friend.

I came up with my own theory I named the rubber band theory.  The idea is that each of us is like a rubber band.  We come in a variety of shapes and sizes, however, the one thing we have in common is that all of us can stretch our rubber bands.

We cannot judge others because we don't know if they are really using their abilities to the maximum potential.  Our focus needs to be on stretching our rubber bands to the limit.  I knew that I had to be successful and I stretched my rubber band to a point of snapping.  My freshman year was unbelievable...three jobs at the same time and a position on the tennis team.  I did not follow my buddies theory because my "players" were not allowed to rest... I slept four hours a day every day during my first year in junior college.

It was not until many years later that I started reading the Bible.  What a shock to find a verse that looked like my rubber band theory (see the quote above)!  Maybe it was the daily prayer asking for wisdom so that I could accomplish my goals.  At that point in my life, I knew God was too busy, so I just prayed for wisdom so I could get by on my own.  He gave me a little bit at a time and by His Grace, I survived.

It is nice to come up with theories and to go through a trial and error process, however, it is even better to learn from the examples Jesus gave us in the Bible.  Follow Jesus and you will soar like an eagle, just like my buddy, Steve.  Are you stretching your rubber band all the way?

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