There is so much talk about growing in faith. There is a desire to go deeper in the truths of God. We all yearn to discover that secret that has been hidden for ages that is the key to unlock our happiness, joy, peace, fulfillment, and success. We strive to discover that secret recipe that will enable us to accomplish all God would have us accomplish.
Want the big secret? Consider the following . . .
John Wooden of UCLA is considered the greatest college basketball coach of all time. His teams won 10 NCAA championship teams in 12 years during the 1960s and 1970s. Imagine being a new recruit of the Wizard of Westwood and showing up for your first practice. You can’t wait to learn the Wizard’s secret recipe and formula for success. What great knowledge would the Coach soon impart upon you that would transform you into an All-American? Jim Collins, in Good to Great, writes what that experience looked like:
The coach comes out and opens the first moments of practice in a quiet voice, “We will begin by learning how to tie our shoes.” You look over to a couple of famous seniors, All‐Americans who’ve already won national championships, thinking this must be some kind of freshman initiation. But no, the seniors calmly begin taking off their shoes and preparing for the shoe‐tying lesson. “First, put your socks, slowly with care, over your toes,” says the coach. The seniors diligently follow instructions. “Now, move your socks up here…and here…smooth out all the wrinkles…nice and tight…take your time,” the coach intones his lesson, like some sort of far‐out Zen master teaching you how to make tea as a path to higher enlightenment. “Then lace your shoes from the bottom, carefully, slowly, getting each pass nice and tight…snug! snug! snug! snug!” After the lesson, you ask one of the All‐American seniors what that was all about, and he says, “Get a blister in a big game, and you’re gonna suffer. Shoes come untied in a close game…well, that just never happens here.” One year later, you come to practice, having helped create yet another national championship, noting the surprised looks on the freshmen’s faces when the coach announces, “We will begin by learning how to tie our shoes.”
I have shared before that sometimes the last thing we need is another Bible Study. We think that we are going to discover the golden nugget we have been searching for in the next Bible study we participate in, the next book we read, or the next sermon we listen to. We are looking to run the “triangle offense” when we are not well versed yet in tying our shoes (see 1 Corinthians 3:2). But sometimes we just need to go back and relearn what we learned when we were just preschoolers in the faith. Growing deeper is not about learning new truths as much as it is about rehearsing old truths.
There is an old story that is told about a pastor who was teaching some young children. He asked the children “what is furry, climbs in trees, and likes to eat nuts?” After not getting an initial response he coaxed them further by sharing, “it has a big bushy tail and is usually brown or grey.”
Finally, one boy cautiously raised his hand. The pastor called upon him and the boy spoke up. “It sounds like a squirrel, but I know the answer is Jesus.”
That we would have the faith of a child! That we would look to Jesus for the answer to recognize that Jesus is the answer. Revelation 2:4-5 invites us to go back to our first love of Jesus. It is to go back to the basics. It is to relearn to tie our shoes. We cannot rehearse the fundamental truth of Jesus enough. Need him! Know him! Love him! Serve him! Live for him!
Don’t look for a new truth. Rediscover the Ancient Truth!