Yesterday I quoted a pastor friend of mine who described us as “ants in the colony.” It’s not my job to change the world, but it is my job to play the role God has chosen for me.
Another picture that’s coming into focus with respect to playing our role and pacing comes from The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I haven’t quite finished it yet, and even though we know the ending, there is still excitement and suspense. Mainly, however, it’s the story of the hard work that goes into putting together an 8-man rowing crew. Each man not only has to pull his own weight (literally!), he has to do it in concert with the coxswain and the other seven rowers.
“Be strong; do the work” from 1 Chronicles 28.10, 20, and Haggai 2.4 certainly applies. It’s my job to be strong (see Ephesians 6.10 and 2 Timothy 2.1) and do the work. For example, invest in others from 2 Timothy 2.2. But Boys in the Boat reminds us of pacing as well. We are to “run with endurance” (Hebrews 12.1). In every race, the crew had to be fast and pace themselves, conserving energy so they could pass the other boats at the end, finishing strong.
I think I’m called to do the same: maintain a life rhythm of work and rest, doing my share, pulling together with others.
PS For another set of lessons from Boys in the Boat, please see this excellent article from Leadership Journal.