Newsletter #481 – Practical Reflections from a Regatta

Last month pastor Bill Hybels gave a talk on his life verse, 1 Corinthians 15:58. It urges us to be “strong and steady, always enthusiastic about God’s work,” knowing that “nothing you do for the Lord is useless.” The whole sermon is worth hearing I was stirred by an image from Hybels’ experiences as a sailor participating  in regattas. You can hear the talk by clicking here.

Apparently a regatta has seven races. After each race the winning captain gets a hat but the overall goal is to win the regatta and get a trophy known as the hardware. Recently the Hybels crew won several races. To get the hardware they only needed to finish the last race ahead of the boat that currently was in second place. Part way through the race they were so far ahead that some crew members wanted to try winning the race as well as beating the competing boat and winning the regatta. Here was their choice: shift focus on getting another hat or keep in pursuit of the hardware?” They stayed with the bigger goal and won the regatta.

Think of this when you teach, coach, lead, or build your career. We’ve got several choices.

  • Go for the hardware, the big win. This involves having a clear goal and persisting, “strong and steady,” hopefully in work that honors God. We can help others discover their calling, working toward goals with consequences that can last forever.
  • Go for the hat. Winning races is not bad. But the Hybels crew was getting distracted from their larger goal. Don’t we all do this at times — lose sight of our calling and settle for something good that may be less than the best?
  • Go for the ride. Many people never have goals, never get into the race, spend their lives drifting or going into waters that pull them from where they could have been. Some prefer to cruise through life, content to avoid the drivenness that can dominate the racers. That’s not necessarily wrong or unwise.

Where are you in this picture? Where do you want to be? How do you help people who want to change in at least some areas of their lives? Any comments?

One Comment

  1. Nice illustration, but…

    Problems for most folk round the globe (expanding the analogy):

    a) they are not allowed to compete
    b) they have no access to boats
    c) they see boating as an exploiter-class pass-time
    d) they are busy doing other or better things
    e) they are autistic, injured,impoverished or imprisoned
    f) they were executed or aborted

    I know, this is an abuse of the illustration. Sorry.


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