The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law. (Ps. 119:51)
MY BOOK CLUB recently read Malcolm Gladwell’s thought-provoking book Outliers: The Story of Success. The non-fiction read dissects multiple success stories and the factors that contributed to the individual successes. In addition to birthplace, birth date, and family characteristics, Mr. Gladwell asserts that typically ten thousand hours of practice or study makes a person an expert in their field. When equal amounts of talent are present, those with the determination to put in ten thousand hours of effort will prevail over anyone considered naturally talented, but lacking the same time in practice.
I see that same tenacity and perseverance in the writer of Psalm 119, who may have been the priest Ezra, although the writer’s identity is not known. The psalmist was committed unfailingly to God and His laws. Whether he was struggling terribly, criticized, or taunted by evildoers, he remained constant in his faith. He did so, knowing the true happiness that was his reward for faithfulness.
We applaud the accomplishments of great athletes, scholars, and musicians. When those same champions have done great things in spite of adversity, we give greater praise. How often, though, do we take time to laud the greatness of our champions of faith? Does the world offer accolades to those who have faced or will face difficulties beyond modern-day comprehension for their Christian beliefs?
Typically not, but true champions don’t care. They just keep practicing.
Make it a point to practice every day in order to achieve expert-level faithfulness.
Hally Franz is a former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom. She is also a cheer booster, 4-H leader, church secretary, reader, and traveler.