“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” (Billie Jean King)
Ability is a gift we are born with. It is a natural quality that is in us. Skill is the honing of that ability through vision, determination, commitment, effort and hard work. Behind the appearance of effortless skill is a story of tireless training and practice to perfection.
At a crucial time in Israel’s history, the leaders looked for soldiers who were both able and highly skilled in a specific field of warfare. Before the days of bombs, guns and bayonets, stone throwing was the effective weapon of choice.
Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss. (Judges 20:16)
Practice your skill
The 700 men mentioned in this verse were not born with an innate ability with the slingshot. To get this good at throwing stones requires some serious training. A single hair is some target, and every one of these men could guarantee to hit it every time. We may be born gifted, but we only become consistently excellent by hard work and practice. Unrelenting practice may be unappealing, but it is the only way to get this good. We are all gifted at something. Let’s get practicing it.
Perfect your skill
In every arena of life there is a distinction between the good and the excellent, the average and the exceptional, the competitor and the medal winner. A moderate stone throwing ability is always overshadowed by perfect precision every time. These 700 men didn’t just practice. They went the extra mile and perfected their skill until they were faultless. Not only could they hit a hair, which any stone thrower could do. They couldn’t miss. We are all gifted at something. Let’s get perfecting it.
Perform your skill
There came a day when qualified stone throwers were needed. In the hour of need, the leaders didn’t look for sloppy, average amateurs. Those who had honed their skill to perfection were called upon for the historic battle. The seemingly endless hours of practice paid off when their skill was required. When the time came they were ready to step up and perform flawlessly. 700 men saved the day by performing their well practiced, perfected skill. We are all gifted at something. Let’s get performing it.
“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” (Unknown) We are all gifted at something, and God wants to maximise that talent for his glory. Let’s train and practice in such a way that when we are called upon we are ready for action.