(On January 15, 2012, I completed my first marathon. Here’s one of the lessons I learned on my journey to the finish line.)
Several years ago, while working as a Youth Minister, I needed to make some extra money (I know . . . It’s hard to believe). I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck, so I took a part-time job as a personal trainer. (Cha Ching).
Ready to make the big bucks, I shadowed around another trainer for a week. Finally, it was time for me to hit the floor and start working with clients. I motivated them as they did crunches. I drilled them as they worked their legs. I pushed them to improve their cardio.
And, then, after 3 weeks . . . I quit.
Why? While I love helping people and working out, for some reason, I just couldn’t put the two together. There was something about being a personal trainer that just didn’t work for me. Honestly, I just wasn’t able to invest my whole heart into it.
Half-Hearted Doesn’t Cut It
Training for a marathon required a lot of time, energy, and effort. It took sacrifice, and it meant getting up earlier, lots of fatigue on the weekends, and less energy to give to my family and friends. When I made the decision to run 26.2 miles, I knew it required my whole heart. You see if I was going to have less time and energy for the most important people in my life, you better believe that I needed to give every fiber of my being for every second I spent working toward this goal.
Jesus taught us many things and continues to do so today, but one of the greatest lessons I learned from Him was to live from the heart. If something is worth it to you, you need to give everything you’ve got.
Isn’t that what He did? When Jesus took up His Cross, died, and resurrected for our sins, He wasn’t just going through the motions. He gave everything. After all, this was God’s plan of salvation so that we may have eternal life (John 3:16). And, in God’s eyes, we are worth it. So, Jesus gave it all.
All of us have things we want to achieve in life and challenges that we want to overcome, but are you willing to give it your all? Are you willing to put your whole heart into them? What about the ultimate goal of heaven? Are you giving everything you’ve got, or are you just going through the motions?
All the Way
Last year, I had the blessed opportunity to interview NFL Quarterback and fellow Catholic, Philip Rivers. He said a lot of beautiful and profound things about living the faith as a professional football player, and you can read the full interview here. When I made the decision to run a marathon I recalled something important Philip said:
“My dad always said that if you’re going to do something – do it all the way. If you’re going to be a Catholic man, be it all the way. If you’re going to clean your room, clean it the right way. You know, all those little things add up and they stick with you.”
If you’re going to be Catholic, be it all the way. Those are big words. That’s more than just showing up. Being Catholic requires not just your body. It requires your mind, and even more importantly, your heart. As Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do from the heart, as for the Lord and not for others.” So whatever it is that you do in life, whatever goals you want to reach, do it from the heart, and do it for the Lord.
When you put the two together, it can last for more than 3 weeks. In fact, it’ll last for eternity.