Fencing is one of those sports that you quickly realize where you are "on the food chain." You either get crushed by the person you're fencing (or you're the one doing the crushing) or you hold your own and come away with either a close win or loss. It's also one of those sports where it is easy to get into the rut of fencing the same people over and over. This sort of unchallenging engagement doesn't force you to learn anything new which only perpetuates where you are on that food chain. On the other hand, when you have bouts consistently against people who are better than you (who might crush you), that's when innovation is sparked, something clicks, and you can start to hold your own at a higher level of fencing.
Timothy had one of those moments last night. Trying to take himself seriously, he stepped out onto the fencing strip against several opponents. Two of them he clearly outclassed, but then he faced off the person at the club who is by far the best fencer in his age bracket. She's been fencing for 5 years and several of those with private lessons from a world renown coach, she's rated far above Tim, she's fenced all over the country and (if I'm not mistaken) some international tournaments as well with many medals and trophies to show for it. Though Timothy is notably regarded as ridiculously good for his 9 months of three-hours-a-week experience, she really should have devoured him AND his saber for dinner and then called for seconds.
But something clicked and Tim was able to show how much untapped potential he has. In the end, the score had Tim losing the bout 11-15, BUT there were easily 3 points that his blade missed her by a hair's breadth and she in turn only hit him with that same hair's breadth; and there was a point or two that could have gone either way. There were also more than a handful of times where other people in the crowd watching hooped, hollered, and OOoohhh!!-ed right along with me (I even jumped out of my seat a time or two) as Tim scored some fantastic points. After the bout, this gal who never really gave Timothy the time of day, started smiling and talking with him with a new found respect for him and his abilities. The score may have indicated that he lost, but he came away the winner last night.
Spiritually speaking, how have you dipped into your untapped potential lately? Have you challenged yourself in some regard or has complacency and dusty routine dictated your lack of growth? The Bible is very clear that the Holy Spirit grants us particular spiritual gifts. But what we do with them is clearly up to us. It's sort of like Timothy and his fencing. Sure, I can get him the gear he needs and drive him to the club. He can even go through the motions of doing warm ups and fencing people. But it is only when we decide to take on a real challenge that the power of the potential within us... the Holy Spirit, will shine through. What in your spiritual life needs to happen for you to take the next step in living out a maximal faith?
Romans 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Serving through love and laughter is a great way to live.