We have a small magnetic whiteboard on our refrigerator at home.
Amy encourages our family to take turns writing an inspirational quote on this whiteboard to share something positive, encouraging, or inspirational for the day.
Recently our son, Collin, took a turn:
“Hard work beats talent… when talent fails to work hard”
Of course, this quote was made famous by NBA star Kevin Durant… whose life and career are shining examples of BOTH hard-work and talent. And, the wisdom in the quote cannot be overstated… there is no substitute for hard work.
Whether its basketball, poetry, carpentry, public speaking, or playing a musical instrument… hard work is the defining contributor to excellence and success. What does hard consist of? Practice, practice, practice.
Whatever the craft, sport, or skill, practicing consistently, intentionally, and committedly over a long period of time despite temptation, distraction, and discouragement is what wins the day.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. (Matthew 23:1-3)
Its much easier to talk the talk than walk the walk. Everything sounds so simple when it’s spoken… only to turn out so challenging when put into practice. When we fall short in our practice, chances are, we set ourselves up to look like we are “all talk… no do”.
The scribes and pharisees had great knowledge about faithful living… the only problem was that they didn’t practice what they were teaching. This is why, for the entirety of Matthew 23, Jesus criticizes the scribes and pharisees as hypocrites.
Can you imagine a symphony orchestra in which each musician dressed sharply, polished their instruments, sat in perfect formation, but didn’t ever rehearse? That DIDN’T PRACTICE PLAYING? It would be an ugly, disjointed, muddle of a symphony. It would LOOK perfect, but sound terrible. People would leave. There would be bad reviews. It would be a joke.
As Christians, in faith and life… the real hard, faithful work happens during practice despite temptation, distraction, and discouragement. We rehearse again and again and again becoming better and better and better in Christ, and shine as an authentic example of Christ to the world.