Solid and Steady Wins the Race
November 14, 2010
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Luke 21: 19
19Jesus said, "By your endurance you will gain your soul."
If you have a goal that you would like to accomplish, if there is some kind of mountain of an obstacle that you need to get over to get to the other side, if there is a wonderful dream in your heart that you are trying to make come true, my dear friends, I invite you to take this idea home with you, solid and steady wins the race! I take this idea from some words of Jesus. The very last words of the Gospel this morning: By your endurance you will gain your soul. From this we get the idea that solid and steady wins the race.
Some times we donít get to our goal, or donít get to accomplish a task, because we try to do everything all at once. Perhaps what we need to remember that the key is to take solid steps towards the goal, and do it steadily.
The Lesson I Learned This Summer
I learned a big lesson this summer. My wonderful godson, Dylan, and I decided to plant a garden. One of the plantings was one of those hanging basket things, "topsy turvy", where you plant the plants inside the bag and they grow all around. I learned something very important by reading the directions! Yes, I actually read the directions before going ahead and making it work. The directions said: ďIf you want lots of tomatoes, if you want good strong plants you must water your plants every day.Ē
What a thought! You must water your plants every day. I confess to you that this was new to me. I believed that if you watered once a week, the rain would take care of the rest. No! If you want lots of tomatoes and strong plants, you will water every day. Solid and steady wins the race.
I decided to follow the directions. I wonít say I didnít slip, maybe a day here or a day there, but by and large I followed the directions and watered the plants every day. Guess what! We got the best harvest of tomatoes we ever had. Good strong, solid plants. Dylan made sure that there were all kinds of Miracle Grow and tomato food and I made sure it was watered every day. We had a wonderful harvest. Please remember that solid and steady wins the race.
Don't Give Up!
Donít get discouraged and give up on things and most of all - donít give up on yourself. Take solid steps, take regular steps and you will achieve your goal.
It Works In Piano Playing
Also this summer I learned the same type of lesson about piano playing. I decided that on my summer vacation in August I wanted to practice the piano every day. I resolved to do the exercises, and to do the repertory and the sight-reading. This is something that I wished I could do every day - and I decided to do it. Well, I will tell you, it was amazing. After a few weeks, I could feel the difference in my hands and I could feel the passages that were very difficult coming very easily. I found the scales were more sparkling, the tone was better. Because solid and steady wins the race. Good solid practice makes a big difference when you want to play the piano.
Let "Solid and Steady" Be Your Goal
Now, I could have taken those hours and piled them up in one day and tried to play for five hours in one day. The little bit each day will get you a lot farther than just tiring your hands out in one marathon practice. You get the point. I invite you to consider this for what ever big task you are looking at. Whatever is important to you, for whatever garden you want to grow. Solid and steady wins the race.
What Is Solid?
What is solid? Solid is like a rock. Did you ever travel the road that goes up the mountain over by Route 518? I am talking about the road that climbs up toward Route 27 and where you see the rocks in the quarry sticking up out of the ground. That is solid, that is what solid looks like. So when you are planning to grow your garden, when you are planning to do your big task, ask yourself-am I doing things that are solid?
Jesus told us that by your endurance you will gain your soul, your integrity your wholeness. Let us practice that together shall we? Let us know that as we move toward our goal, God is blessing us as we take solid steps and we do it in a steady and consistent way.
Our Gifts To Our Church
Next week we are going to be asked to consecrate our estimates of giving to the Lord. I am looking forward to it. I contribute a pledge to this church just as you do. I am looking forward to putting on that pledge card the highest amount I can, the best I can do in my pledge to the Lord. I invite you to do that with me. We are going to do this together as a family, and then we will share a great Thanksgiving meal together next week.
Isnít the church a garden that we want to grow? That way to do it is solidly and steadily. Close your eyes with me for a moment and letís think about some of the fruit that grows in this garden.
Picture, if you will:
∑ The childrenís choir standing up, with Miss Margie directing them and Dr. Bell playing. The sweet music that fills our church is part of the fruit that grows here.
∑ Dr. Bell playing the piano, Sunday by Sunday. This great concert artist that we have here lifting our souls to the Lord, this is part of the fruit that grows here.
∑ The Gospel being preached, the Gospel being read.
∑ Dinners in Friendship Hall, where we are all together as a church family, sharing the love and the joy of this place.
∑ Our church school, and our children, standing up here and saying the Lordís Prayer, reciting for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, coming forward for the Junior Sermon.
These are all part of the fruits of this church. Perhaps you can think of other fruit of this church that are especially important to you.
We want the garden to grow. So as we make our estimate of giving, we will do it in a solid way and a steady way. We will watch the garden grow, we will watch it prosper and we will watch the blessing of God come to this church, to the people of Montgomery United Methodist Church.
Solid and steady wins the race. I had a great gift when I was a child. Things were not always quiet in my home. But when it came to Sunday morning, we were together in church as a family. My Mom and Dad made sure, summer and winter, snow or rain, we were together in church worshipping the Lord. Things were tight at times in my house economically. But as sure as the sun would rise on a Sunday morning, my Mom and my Dad would open my hand as a little child and place money in it and say, ďThat is for the LordĒ. When the usher would come around, I would place my offering, just like my Mom and Dad. What at gift, Sunday in and Sunday out, year in and year out, it was always consistent. I rejoice to be able to do that still. Next Sunday we are going to have the chance to say, ďThis is for the Lord.Ē
My dear friends, my prayer for you this week is that it would be a triumphant week for you, a solid week of good accomplishment and great satisfaction in your heart. Move forward solidly, move forward steadily, and remember that solid and steady wins the race.
God loves you, I do, too. Have a blessed week.
© 2010 Anthony J. Godlefski