Monday, May 7, 2012

No Heart For The Bull


We are always in a season of great opportunity. Opportunity exists all around us. In fact there is a law of repetitive opportunity. You aren’t the first person to go through the common places of life and you won’t be the last. Often it’s not opportunity that’s lacking but rather heart for the bull!

Ecclesiastes 1  NKJV
9  That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.
10  Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us.
11  There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.

When I was a young man I was adventurous and always ready for the new thing. I was 18 years old and had been married about 3 months when my brother-in-law and I decided to enter a bull riding contest in Linden, Texas. We and our wives drove the 35 miles, us guys paid our $15 entry fee and drew our number out of the hat. The number indicated which bull we had the fortune, or misfortune, of riding that particular night.

You see, it’s not just the rider who gets judged but also the bull. So to make it fair, everyone submits to the luck of the draw. In effect, the best rider could end up drawing the worst bull and not even have a chance of winning the pot. By the worst bull I don’t mean the biggest, bad-est, buckin-est, bull in the rodeo … the worst bull is the bull that is the weakest, wimpiest, laziest no account easy rider bull. “If he don’t buck – he don’t score!”

In bull riding competition both the rider and the bull score a potential 1 to 50 points depending on how difficult the bull is to ride and how good the rider performs. Those two scores are tallied and the results are the score for the ride. A score of 78 could mean that the rider had a perfect ride but the bull only half bucked – or it could mean that the bull was almost impossible to ride and the rider barely hung on for the 8 seconds, flopping around like a rag doll, just wishing he could find a place to jump off.

I’ve had bulls jump out from under me and me just be glad it was over only to have them jump right back under me on the next jump and find myself still needing to hang on or be hurt. You know, if you do anything very many times or long enough, you’re bound to come up short a couple of times. Falling just comes along every now and again even in such simple things as walking … without regard as to how many years you’ve been practicing.

Like with any competition from dancing with the stars to bull riding, the degree of difficulty and the performance of the person are added together to make up the final results.

I think it is the same in life as a whole. Heroes are only made in battle and even medals are awarded based on the degree of difficulty faced and the manner in which the individual performed under those circumstances. Athletes are judged not only by their individual performance but also in light of their level of competition. The starting pitcher for a class B school who moves to a 4A school his junior year might find himself on the bench. Of course, he might not, but if he is to play – he must prove that he can perform at a much higher level of competition than previously required. He will need passion for and a commitment to the game …

I never did very well at bull riding … it wasn’t because there were no good bulls out there, in fact there were great scoring bulls in every rodeo … I never did very well because I just did not ride competitively … in other words – I just didn’t have the heart for it … it was just something I was doing at the time … and there was also the fact that almost every bull was better at what he did than I was at keeping him from doing it. But that’s ok … I really didn’t want a career in bull riding – it was just something I was doing because I had a passion for adventure, not a passion for bull riding. This is not to say that I did not enjoy it or that I was inept … I was better than a lot of those other wanna-bees- I educated myself, looked the part, talked the lingo and I really did know what I was doing … but success required a focus that I lacked.

Here is a picture of me at 18 years old in that Linden Texas rodeo ---

Even though I was not good at bull riding, and even though I never won any money in that event, and even though I am now 40 years older and haven’t ridden a bucking bull in several years – I could still do it if I wanted to … Opportunities Abound – and even if they did not present themselves, I could seek out and find plenty of opportunity to ride a bull - I just don’t want to! Why – either I lack the passion or have developed better sense.

Nonetheless, every day the sun rises I could find a bull to ride if I really wanted to. You see, there is always another bull to ride – it’s the law of repetitive opportunity.

My wife and kids, along with my parents and friends, were sure glad that I didn’t choose to make bull riding my life’s calling … why??? – because I would have been a miserable failure. I couldn’t ride the best bulls that paid the money and if I only rode the bulls I could ride, those bulls could not make the score I needed to win. It was just not a winning combination.

Now just because I was not a great, money winning bull rider does not mean that I did not have great passion and potential for some other things in life. And my greatest potential both then and now was exactly where yours is today … Your greatest potential lies in your greatest passion.

Somewhere in life you have great potential – perhaps greater potential than you ever imagined. However you may be riding your present bull with no heart for the win. (For the sake of funny – we’ll call this: “No heart for the bull.”) When this happens we either need to get heart for the bull or get ourselves another bull. (Providing God allows.)

God has designed you with purpose. And, even though you may not always draw the best bull, when you ride with passion, you look forward to each ride, you have a better chance of winning and you enjoy the ride even if you lose.

Not every wave a surfer catches is a 10 and not every ride they make, even when they do their best is a 10. However, we are all designed by God to successfully accomplish His will for our life. Life is a partnership with God … He picks the wave, we supply the passion and added together we score either a win or a loss for the ride.

If we want to be successful, we must ride with all our heart – and if we don’t have the heart to ride the wave we are on – then we need to find out where our passions lies and, providing God will allow, get to and stick to our passion. We always do better and seem to be happier when we ride with passion. (Now I am not saying that Jonah should not have gone to Nineveh … it just means that he should have found a way to be happy and passionate engaged in doing what God chose for him to do.)

It takes a reasonable degree of degree of difficulty and a certain level of competition to prove us. What is a reasonable degree of difficulty for you? Only God say – these things should not be left up to us or to the luck of the draw. God will not allow more to come on us than we are able to bear. And because of that, God may well have something else for you to do – something more akin to your passion. You can always ask.

Without regard as to your passion or performance for your current ride, in the end there are yet three things for which we must account. You have heard them before and no doubt you will hear them again. Everyone, without respect to their individual passion or position, is responsible to:
1.   Make a Living
2.   Make a Life
3.   Make a Difference

We do each of these three better when we ride the wave God has picked for us with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength – passion!

And don’t think for a moment that making a living or making a life constitutes making the difference God’s Word demands. For what would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his own soul?

These three responsibilities are God delivered, God defined and God delineated responsibilities. The scriptures speak to each one separately and distinctly. Not one of these can replace or cover for another.

1 Timothy 5:8  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 12:15  And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

1 John 3:17  But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Without regard as to how we have performed in the past, succeeded or failed, collected wins or amassed losses, there is always another opportunity. Life cycles in predictable patterns.

In Philippians 3:13 & 14 the Apostle Paul declared that he continually committed himself to every “next opportunity” God presented with passion and pursuit, hoping that each one might bring him closer to God’s goal.

Certainly there is nothing “new” under the sun – what has been will be again – only we do not imagine that these opportunities are but cycles, repetitive opportunities … we often imagine ourselves to be the first to ever encounter such things. Believe me, others have been there and others will follow. However, it’s your turn now … find your passion!

Every ride might not be a money maker but don’t despair … there is another opportunity waiting for you … you will find your best ride when you find passion for God’s will … when you have heart for the bull.

By the way … I guess I haven’t completely lost my desire to ride bulls – here is another picture of me a year or so ago in old downtown Fort Worth, Texas on a Texas Longhorn … I just couldn’t resist this opportunity!

Where is your next opportunity? Well … where is your life passion? Don’t live your life with no heart for the bull! Find your place of passion …