"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, September 14, 2008

"See Bud"

One of my all-time favorite subjects to teach is spiritual gifts – strictly those which are known as the 7 motivational gifts found in Romans 12. And since I’ve joined the gym and acquired a “success partner,” I think I may have just come upon a classic example of one who fits the “he who encourages” in vs. 8. His name is Bud.

For anyone who knows me at all, knows that exercise does not rank in my top 10 of favorite things to do. In fact, “exercise” and “fun” are very much contradictory terms; that is until Bud. Bud sticks with me during my hour at the gym, and through every press of a weight, every crunch of my abs, every strain of a muscle, he is right there encouraging me: “That was good!” “You can do it!” “Just two more.” “Give yourself a hand.” And he always ends the hour with, “You did really good today. I'm proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to exercise with that kind of encouragement? Who couldn’t exercise with that kind of encouragement? On a number of occasions, I’ve realized that it was because Bud was standing next to me counting and supporting with a “that’s good” and “you can do it” that I’ve been able to do those “two more” – where otherwise I would have stopped short. But his encouragement pushes me to my full potential. It motivates me to endure something that is hard. It presses me on to a greater level of stamina.

Bud’s great example of encouragement reminds me of Hebrews 3:13 which says we are to encourage one another daily – while it is called “Today.” I like the way The Message says it: “For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes.” Later in chapter 10, the writer says we are to “spur each other on.”

I’m thankful for Bud’s presence at the gym. But then again, I’m grateful for all the Bud’s in my life who have spurred me on – those who have encouraged me along the way as it was called “Today.” Those who have held crowns over my head and encouraged me to grow into them. Those who have stood by me and said, “You can do it!”

So I exhort you to give someone an encouraging word today. A grocery store clerk, a child, a co-worker, a Sunday School teacher – the list is as endless as the opportunities. And who knows, it just might be the word they need to get that heavy weight over their head. In the meantime, I think I’ll go look up Romans 12:8 and see if the footnote doesn’t say, “See Bud.”

Hanging by my forearms -- knees to chest!

Bud as Mr. Florida (over 60 and "drug free" competition) at age 62.

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