With the beginning of baseball season, I’m reminded of a story about George Brett who enjoyed an All-Star 20 years career with the Kansas City Royals during the 1970s and 80s.
Brett was once asked by a reporter what he wanted to do in his last at-bat when he retired. No doubt, many ballplayers would like to end their career with a 400 foot home run like Ted Williams did at Fenway Park. However, that’s not what Brett said.
“I want to hit a routine grounder to second, run all out to first base, and then get thrown out by a half a step, “Brett replied. “I want to leave an example to the young guys that is how you play the game.”
Brett’s response speaks to a quality that needs renewing in many areas of our lives today–determination.
My online Thesaurus offers these synonyms for determination. Doggedness. Dedication. Persistence. Fortitude. Tenacity. Steadfastness. And spunk. While these all offer some characteristics of a determined person. There’s another aspect to determination.
Dictionary.com defines determination as “the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling on a purpose.”
Merriam-Webster offers this insight. “The act of deciding definitely and firmly…a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.”
My friend and preaching colleague, Gary Henry, expressed it well when he wrote, “Those who are the most tenacious in pursuing their goals are those who have decided on them the most firmly. On the other hand, many people fail to reach their goals because they haven’t really made up their minds. Having made no real commitment, they haven’t determined to do it.”
In a wishy-washy world too often influenced by pop culture, political correctness and “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men” (Eph 4:16), we need Christians to be people of determination
Determined Disciples are driven by God’s purpose (2 Tim. 1:9). Committed to His cause (2 Tim. 1:12). Motivated by His love (2 Cor. 5:14). Unwavering in our ministry (1 Cor.. 15:58). And resolute in the values we embrace and the priorities we pursue (Matt. 6:19-34).
Such determination combines the qualities of decisiveness, dedication, devotion, and doggedness.
We need determined pastors who will feed the flock. Watch out for the souls entrusted to their care. Chase away the wolf. And tend to the spiritual work given to their oversight and leadership (Ax. 20:28-32).
We need determined preachers who will preach the word. The whole counsel of God. Not what is wanted, or popular, but what is needed at that time (2 Tim. 4:1-2). Preachers, as Dee Bowman once wrote, who will “storm the will.”
We need determined parents who will raise their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Teaching them godly values. Instilling in their hearts a love for the Lord. And leading them by example in the way of righteousness.
We need determined young people who will seek their Creator in their youth (Eccl. 12:1). Flee youthful lusts. Keep themselves pure (2 Tim. 2:22). And honor both their God and their godly parents (Eph. 6:1-2).
We need determined Christians to rise above the putridity of this wicked world (1 Jn. 2:15-17). To be transformed instead of conformed (Rom. 12;1-2). And to be“steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1Cor. 15:58).
“Let’s Renew in ‘22″ our determination.
In the words of Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
“There is no chance, no destiny, no fate,
Can circumvent, or hinder, or control
The firm resolve of a determined soul.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman