In his famous book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell lays out the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to effectively master complex skills, such as playing the violin. I don’t know for certain, but having taken my dad down to Mexico and watching him mud walls with high school students, the ease of which he could do something in his late 60s after a career of doing it, compared to the relative inexperience of high school students at evenly coating anything seems to bear out that this idea may have some merit to it.

When we talk about mastery of any skill, it has to start with the belief that we may actually be able to attain that goal. Simply put, it starts with hope. We have hope that with enough time invested, we might be able to become something or someone we currently are not.

1 Peter 1:9 says that we are “receiving the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls.” There’s something about hope that encourages not only to place our hope in the life to come but to receive presently the gift of God through his Son Jesus. This hope should compel us to action! When we truly believe that we are receiving our salvation (and as Paul would say to the Philippians, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling), we are ignited by the hope and striving to imitate Jesus that it moves us to action. Do we have hope that we can imitate Jesus? Do we have hope that we can become more like him? That we have not only received and will receive, but that we are currently receiving our salvation?

The challenge for us is this: to stake our lives on this hope that restores. Restores not just in the future sense of when we will be with no more pain and no more tears, but that is currently restoring us each day as we strive to become more like Jesus. We are being restored. This is the work of God within us that is done between our grace-driven effort and God’s Spirit. Does hope ignite the fire within you to strive to become and achieve “mastery” of the things of God? May our hope be so firm that we would strive to be with Jesus, like Jesus, and do as Jesus did, not just after God takes us home but in the present.

Pastor Seth Redden
High School Pastor 

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