Training vs. Transforming

I saw a clip of a Jack Hanna show this weekend where he was interviewing an elephant caretaker and trainer on a wildlife preserve. When Jack asked about the elephant’s ability to be trained, the caretaker answered, “They’re extremely intelligent animals so they catch on quickly to any training. It’s the relationship that takes time.”

Over 35+ years of ministry, I have seen, regardless of the generation, you can quickly teach Christians how to do—read and study the Word, how to pray, what worship means, how to engage in a small group, how to share their story, etc. It’s the how to be—developing an intimate and authentic relationship with Jesus that takes time.

I read a recent interview with Garth Brooks about what his typical day on tour looks like. When asked about his hands-on work on the road with a foundation for at-risk kids, he responded, “It’s the most important work I’ve ever gotten to do, other than the obvious things like being a child of God, being a father, and being married.”

Garth differentiated his “doing” from his “being.” And the “being” roles are his most important relationships. The “doing” happens every Saturday while he’s on the road. The “being” is his day in and day out, all the time.

Question for the week: How much is your “doing” helping you “be?”

If the answer is “not much” or “don’t know,” maybe its time to re-evaluate the doing. Remember—God knows what you can do. It’s the being He’s after because that’s what goes to Heaven.

We’re fairly smart so the training—the doing—comes quickly; it’s the relationship—the being—that takes time.

God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. —Galatians 4:5-7 NLT

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