You get out what you put in...
You won't see me competing in the Olympics anytime soon. I know that may surprise some of you while others are 'laughing out loud' right now. No, really, I am an amateur...okay, maybe a novice is a better description. I run as a hobby, as an active response to maintaining wellness, and a way to clear my mind and pray. For years, I would buy running sneakers online and the cheaper the better. I could never justify spending gobs of money on sneakers. When the product would arrive in the mail, I would try them on and go for a run. Nobody had ever seriously talked to me about going to a running shoe store and actually try sneakers on to shop for the best made platform. If they did, I would dismiss them and think to myself, "No way will I ever spend that much money on sneakers. In my mind specialty running shops were a money pit.
Well, about a year ago, I decided to heed a close friend's suggestion to visit a store that specializes in running shoes and athletic gear. The salesperson was knowlegable and measured my feet. He had me stand on some sort of heat sensitive pad to reveal my footprint. With this information, he suggested two specific brands of running shoe. I was excited until I heard the price...
The saleperson: "This model is $150."
Me: "Oh, okay." (insert scrunched facial lines here and a noticable tightening of my neck muscles.)
The salesperson: "I think we are running a special on these this week. Let me check."
Me: (thinking) I pray you are running a special...
The salesperson: (returning) "Good news, these sneakers are $120!"
Me: "Great, I'll take them."
Previous to this purchase, I would normally spend 40-60 dollars for running sneakers. I can say with conviction, I'll never buy cheaply priced running shoes again. Dealing with people who understand the physiology of running is the best way to go. This investment in my feet, ankles, legs, hips and back have made a huge difference in my running. I feel better, more energized, and safer with the shoes shown above. I also can say the average minute per mile has been good too! Spending more money on better sneakers has paid dividends over the long haul.
In my vocation as pastor, I meet people who have disconnected their faith from a solid relationship with the Holy Bible. Our task in knowing God is directly related to this book. At some point the person has accepted Jesus and relied on His salvation but from this point foward they have chosen to go cheap on their spiritual development and decided to gain insights about Jesus Christ from many sources other than the Bible (movies, TV shows, novels, etc). Short cuts in spirtual development will often produce weak believers who could be considered biblically illiterate. It's not that they have no knowledge of the Bible but they have just enough knowledge to make them targets for Satan. It's like running in poorly constructed running shoes. The long term effect may cause injury and chronic pain.
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires,
they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV)
Consider your faith the most valuable thing you possess and invest everything you have into strengthening and maturing it. You can choose to go cheap and skim across the surface of a relationship with Jesus Christ or you can dive into the great adventure. It is your choice and nobody with force your hand but at the end of the day you will get out what you put in.