Unreasonably Committed

Tony Barnes By Tony Barnes, 29th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Sports>Racquet Sports

I finally beat the master after three years of playing...and losing to him on a regular basis. I found to get better, I had to play someone better than myself.

Nuggets of Faith -- Sept 2015

I finally defeated the master. On my last trip to the gym when I was leaving Little Rock Air Force Base, John Alvarez and I played racquetball one more time. John had taught me to play the game when I first arrived three years earlier. He was a staff sergeant and as a young Airman, he often served as a mentor to me in the early days of my career. But, it annoyed me how after three years I rarely could win a single game against him. For that final match, I was emotionally pumped up. There was no way I was going to let Alvarez beat me one more time. I was ‘unreasonably committed’ to winning that match.

We battled, slammed into walls and probably took bruising blows to the body from a little blue ball traveling a gazillion miles per hour. There is nothing that can take your breath quicker than to take a racquetball to the middle of your back. I won the first game and if I remember I won the second game. Possibly, it went to the third game. I don’t remember…but, I do remember I played with intensity like I had never played before.
John Alvarez WAS NOT going to beat me this time. And, he didn’t.

We did play once more as our paths crossed in England when I was a guest speaker at a youth retreat where he served as a counselor. I think I won that time too. The student had risen above the master…at least for a couple of matches. I went on to play on the base team at Royal Air Force Base Greenham Common in England. But, I truly owed that degree of success to the tutelage of John Alvarez. In the years since, I have discovered that to get better at racquetball, I have to play people that are better than me as I did over that three year period with John Alvarez.

I have learned the same is true in my spiritual walk. When I constantly engage with friends and colleagues that have little regard for the Bible or a relationship with Jesus Christ I am not as sharp in my ‘game’. Of course, in this column ‘game’ is a euphemism for our spiritual walk. I certainly don’t treat my relationship with the Lord as a game. But, I like to surround myself with people of excellence as it relates to devotion to the Lord. They inspire me to be more faithful, to be more dedicated to study of God’s word and hold me accountable in my private life.

In his daily devotional “From Faith to Faith”, Kenneth Copeland talks about how a college music major will practice for many hours to achieve their goal of receiving a degree in music. He says they are ‘unreasonably committed’. Further Copeland references the ‘unreasonable commitment’ of an Olympics skater who will spend 6 to 8 hours a day practicing in preparation for that highest form of athletic competition. Copeland further explains, “If you're going to achieve the kind of spiritual excellence you're hungry for, you're going to have to be unreasonably committed to the Word of God.”

You can often hear Christians complain about the condition of today’s world. But, has our country changed because Christians have slipped from ‘unreasonable commitment’ to God’s word, the church and its involvement to influence the world towards Jesus Christ. I want to live the rest of my life with that Olympics training intensity to strengthen my walk with the Lord and to be used by Him to make a difference in the world around me. Let’s go for the gold…and I am not talking about just a precious metal. Let’s show degrees of ‘unreasonable commitment.’


England, From Faith To Faith, Greenham Common, John Alvarez, Kenneth Copeland, Little Rock, Olympics, Racquetball

Meet the author

author avatar Tony Barnes
I am a native Texan who spent 3 years in the Marine Corps Reserves and 25 years on active duty in the Air Force. I have been a Christian since 1985 and am an ordained minister. I am conservative politically and love to study history. I publish a mont...(more)

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author avatar WOGIAM
1st Sep 2015 (#)

Very true words, it takes "unreasonable commitment" for people to achieve the best of whatever goals they set for themselves, i am personally still striving to attain this in my life but i am not giving up. Thank you for sharing this, Mr. Barnes.

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