Be In The Arena
While working on a theme for the Ciloa Retreat and coming up with nothing, I saw a Facebook post by Tony Mekamkwe. The focus of his post was a portion of a speech by former US President Theodore Roosevelt. 1 And I wondered, Why would he post about that?
The answer is simple. God was moving through Tony to reach out to me. 2 But there was a bigger question. What does this have to do with me? Here’s what Tony posted (with a bit of editing by me). 3
Are we in the arena or on the outside?
It is not the critics who count—not those who point out how the strong stumble, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, whose faces are marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strive valiantly; who err, who come up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who do actually strive to do the deeds; who know great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best know in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
True failure is failing to follow Jesus.
What I learned from all this is that God is alive and active in the world, but He is also alive and active in our lives. He moves in us, but He also moves through us to reach, care for, encourage and love each other…and those He wants to join us.
In other words, we must be in the arena. We have not been called to be lukewarm spectators, to merely watch what others do, to criticize. We have been called to action, to engage, to dare greatly, to share the way, the truth, and the life…to be a light as Jesus is the Light.
For if not us, who? If not now, when? Is your heart burning to follow Jesus? Be In The Arena!
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. He is also an author and speaker. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) (1) You can read all about that in God Moves Through Us, a Note of Encouragement. (2) (God was probably reaching out to others, too, but I can only speak for me.). (3) Though never referenced this way by Theodore Roosevelt, this is widely known as The Man in the Arena. My editing is to broaden the scope and application for today’s readers to capture Roosevelt’s clear intentions.
Pictures: Banner: The Colosseum, JourneyMakr.com. 1st: From the article Maybe God is trying to tell me something, by Dr. Gerry Lewis, drgerrylewis.com. 2nd: Theodore Roosevelt, colorized by Deborah Humphries, based on an original photographic print by Underwood & Underwood, N.Y. 3rd: Gladiator, from the article Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum by Brooke Boland, ArtsHub Australia, 6-30-2017.