On Sunday as I was racing down the steep hills of central Missouri, flashes of color dotting the asphalt caught my eye. Riders from previous heats had tossed empty water bottles, goo wrappers (a high-energy food eaten during long races that tastes like overly-sweetened toothpaste) and anything else that had been previously strapped to their bikes, on the road. And although I doubt that extra zillionth of an ounce wrapper fragment would have weighed them down, their behavior reminded me of a verse in Hebrews:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 ESV
Watching endurance athletes as they gear up for a race adds great imagery to this verse. Everything is evaluated for its efficiency and only the necessities are retained. This careful evaluation continues throughout the entire race as each curve in the road or dip of a hill is evaluated. Racers who make proper adjustments and keep their eyes focused on the course ahead finish much stronger than those who rely on brute strength alone. I believe this is true in our spiritual life as well.
The Bible tells me that God has a course mapped out for me, and although the finish line is nothing more than a glimmer tucked at the top of a long, steep hill, God has provided enough brightly marked cones to get me there. And I know if I would but keep my eyes glued to the orange markers, I could avoid many of the pitfalls that slow me down. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to let my eyes wonder to another path, one lined with delicate flowers and tall, swaying trees, that veers, ever so slightly to the right.
As a writer, I hear a lot of my friends talk of weasel words. Weasel words are those unnecessary linking verbs and adjectives that weaken your writing. But weasels aren’t limited to the page. Life can be riddled with weasels as well; those unnecessary time-sappers that get in the way of effective ministry. If we let them. As of today, I have determined not to let these varmints wreak havoc in my spiritual garden! As my commitments mount and every task vies for prominence, I will go over my schedule with a fine-toothed comb, exterminating those pesky weasels one by one until I can truly say that I have followed whole-heartedly the course God mapped out for me.
What about you? What are your greatest time-sappers and how will you get rid of them?