He wanted his teams to play the game right. He was big on fundamentals. Practice consisted of one drill after another. These were designed to make his players fundamentally sound. It was as though he was obsessed with the idea. He preached it with gusto. He was like a parrot who knew only one phrase, “I want my players to be fundamentally sound.”
During shooting practice, he promoted one fundamental more than all the others. He was adamant. Nothing was more important than the follow through. “It’s fundamental,” he reasoned, “If you wanna’ be high percentage shooters, you’ve gotta’ follow through on your shots.”
Is there a lesson here for the Christian community?
I believe the answer is a resounding “Yes!” We must grasp the importance of follow through. This thought seems to come thundering off the page in the proverbs of Solomon. Two very similar maxims read as follows:
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. (Proverbs 12:11)
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. (Proverbs 28:19)
Conceiving great plans is easy. Acting on these plans—that’s what really matters. Abundant blessings are experienced by those who actually work the land. Whether the topic is agriculture or sowing the seed of the Kingdom of Christ and harvesting crops for eternal life, doing the work of the Lord requires more than just talk. It requires sacrificial service and unwavering commitment to follow through!
The importance of follow through
With respect to the body of Christ, the need for follow through unfolds before us in a variety of ways. Some illustrations are:
—Names of the sick and hospitalized are announced. Who will follow through by making visits, sending cards and offering prayers?
—Newcomers attend our assemblies. Who will follow through on the plan to make them feel welcome by extending a handshake and a kind greeting. Who will follow through with a call or a card after this moment has passed?
—Requests are made for special assistance for people in need of loving care and ministries in need of willing workers. How will these needs be met if no one follows through?
—A brother or sister is missing from the fold. You know they’ve been struggling with a burden too heavy to bear alone. Will you follow through with efforts to affirm your love for them and help them carry their load?
—A friend opens up to you about spiritual emptiness and a need for “something more”. Will you follow through with an effort to share the Good News with her?
—Commitments are made to complete special projects. Will you seize the moment or let opportunity slip through your fingertips? Will you stay the course when difficulties arise, or will you fail to follow through?
Our Chief Example
Jesus is the chief example of the importance of follow through. His final three words make this crystal clear? The Apostle John reports that Jesus uttered these three final words from the cross: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) What an example of sacrifice and commitment! Aren’t we glad that Jesus knew the importance of the follow through?
Many opportunities are open to us each day. We are like the basketball team that has numerous open shots. If we are going to hit a high percentage of these, we need to focus on the fundamentals, such as: acting justly, loving kindness and walking humbly with our God. And, like Jesus, we must faithfully follow through!
© Bill Williams
May 9, 2007