I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
Thoughts for Today:In my younger days I was enthralled with the martial arts. I really enjoyed the competition and physical nature of the sport. One year, because of a work-related event, I missed the tournament to determine the champion of our region. But, I got the chance the following week to spar with the winner. We began slowly at first, testing one another's defense -- a couple of jabs, a kick or two. I sensed he was yielding a bit too much so I pressed my attack and threw a roundhouse punch leaving my ribs exposed. As he feinted and drifted away under my reach, he lifted a side blade kick into my ribs -- the momentum of my body accelerated the impact. I heard a "crack" then felt a grinding of bone against bone. As I fell to the mat clutching my ribs, I thought, "Now I know why he won the tournament."
When I read our passage today, I thought back to my cracked rib experience. I hadn't trained or prepared, and I didn't have a plan. It was no wonder I lost. Paul also uses a sports analogy to illustrate his point: "I do not fight like a boxer beating the air." When Paul shared the Gospel, he wasn't swinging wildly, hoping that one big and lucky knockout punch would land. Rather, Paul knew that a successful ministry required training, planning, commitment, discipline, follow through, etc.
Questions to Ponder:I often coach pastors, missionaries, and other ministry leaders as they seek to improve some aspect of their ministry. Many times I find talented, gifted and inspired individuals who have spent their time flailing around ill-defined targets -- without first getting themselves under enough control to develop a single-minded focus on what God wants them to do. Take some time right now to focus on the ministry area God has given you. Are you clear on the target? Write it down. Has God given you the first few steps He wants you to take? If you don't know the answer, then you should ask Him. Don't think that a lot of activity is the same as successfully serving the Lord.