This is the Day…Thursday
June 17, 2021
Going through the Motions
“For I desire steadfast Love and not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6)
As a teenager I was at Loray Baptist Church several times each week. It seemed like there was always something going on that involved me. Boy Scouts, Royal Ambassadors, Training Union, youth choir practice, church clean-up days, and of course Sunday School and Worship. I was very thankful to be involved in a church that offered so many opportunities to be involved.
One Sunday, after worship, some adult leaders of the youth group asked me if I wanted to play on the youth softball team. I had played a lot of baseball with my brothers and friends in the neighborhood, but I had never played softball. The youth leaders told me that the only real difference was that the ball is much bigger! Wow. That should be even easier to hit. Count me in!
The first practice was fun but challenging. I played leftfield and had no problem catching just about anything they hit near me. But my batting skills needed some work. For some reason, even though the ball was twice as big, I could not hit it. I knew how to hit the ball. I knew where to stand, how to hold the bat, and how to step into my swing. I could go through the motions of batting without a problem. But now, on the rare occasion when I would make contact with the ball, it would just roll slowly up the field or pop up in the air. Finally, one of the team coaches helped me to understand what I was doing wrong. He said, “You are doing great going through the motions. You have good form and a strong swing. But if you don’t keep your eyes on the ball, going through all the right motions will not matter.” What a great truth to remember.
It is unfortunate that we can tend to live our lives just going through the motions. When we never truly dedicate ourselves to living life to the fullest and becoming all that we should be, we are just going through the motions. We can even make this mistake in our relationship with God. We fulfill all the minimal requirements. We have good form and follow all the rules. We go to church, we support the church with our resources, we show up for the big events. We even have an occasional conversation with God. But the truth is, when you are just going through the motions and checking off the boxes in the Christian handbook, all you are doing is being religious and following rituals. God is not interested in heartless rituals. And rituals are useless if they are not performed for the right reasons. God does not desire for us to just go through the motions. God desires your whole heart, your love and acknowledgement of Him.
My softball coach taught me a great lesson, on and off the field. When I started watching the ball, I could hit it every time and even made a homerun or two. When we stop going through the motions and begin keeping our eyes on God, we will be amazed at what we can do.