Some movies grab my attention. These aren’t great movies. They’re not even good movies, in some cases. I don’t go out of my way to watch them. But, if I’m going through channels on TV and come across one, I watch. I don’t know why.
Consider Tremors, that classic starring Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. It’s about giant underground worms from dinosaur days that begin to appear near a remote community in the Nevada desert. The worms – which come to be called “graboids” – hook people with these long snakelike things and eat them.
Or how about Mystery Men, a 1999 must-see involving a team of not-so-super heroes? Basically, it’s about people who want to be heroic but don’t really have any powers. Ben Stiller’s character is Mr. Angry, whose power is … he gets angry. Another hero’s ability is fighting bad guys with a shovel because, well, he carries a shovel. Yet another character, his power is … well, I’ll just say one of my boys could be his stinky sidekick.
Going in a different direction, should AMC be running another one of its dinnertime-to-midnight airings of The Godfather, I’m in. Rare is it I can make the time investment this actual classic requires, but should it or The Godfather II be on I’m powerless to keep channel surfing without stopping.
Of those three movies, only one of them received three Academy awards, eight Academy Award nominations, and is considered the third-greatest film ever according to the American Film Institute. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the one about giant worms.
Why is it the things of low quality can entice us as much those of high quality? Kevin Bacon is no Marlon Brando, and Fred Ward (despite his role in another weirdly-favorite of mine, The Adventure of Remo Williams), is no Al Pacino. This shows, I believe, our capacity to subconsciously add undeserved value to something. But we can also under-appreciate something of higher quality.
My family just finished the busiest three months we’ve ever experienced together. Between work, church leadership responsibilities, sports, and school, it was tough to have many nights where we were all at the dinner table. Some days I felt more familiar with Google Calendar than my wife.
The next several months should be different. We’re taking some time off from sports and other extra activities. At the end of the day, we can actually stay home instead of jet off to another ball field. Earlier this week, we dove into a game of Uno after dinner. Last night, my son and I played chess for the first time in months.
No matter the season of life, I’ve always tried to see God’s purpose for it, the lessons He’s trying to teach me. That goes for the busy times. It became harder to have prayer with my family, but we (somewhat) pulled it off. However, my own devotion time became easier. A 5 a.m. wakeup practically eliminates any excuse for not taking a few moments with Scripture. Jesus was on to something with that.
And for all our problems with technology, I found out reading from my Bible app on the back deck before dawn, praying, and then looking up at the vastness of the night sky makes for a pretty good start to the day.
Whatever season you are in now, God calls us to make the most of it. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you … [T]est everything, hold fast what is good,” (1 Thess. 5:16-18; 21). Philippians puts it another way: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone,” (Phil. 4:4-5).
I look for ways to get a lesson out of everything. It’s just the way my mind works. Several times on the way to another practice this fall, I’d explain to my sons that sports are good, but there are many more lessons to get from them. You overcome obstacles, learn teamwork and self-discipline, and realize you can outperform your own expectations. But, don’t let your dedication to it grab you in an unhealthy way.
What season are you in right now? Are you looking for the ways God has positioned you to have the greatest impact for His Kingdom? Are you giving yourself enough credit for how He’s shaped you in your current role? Don’t get distracted by looking at where someone else is serving or what they have. Your God-given talents and skills reside with you for a reason.
When we understand that and respond accordingly, there’s a very good chance the result is a masterpiece in His eyes.