When I played basketball in high school my coach would make us do what’s called “14-in-1s”. It’s a form of conditioning. You line up on the sideline of the court with a partner behind you to count. One minute is put up on the clock. When the whistle blows, you have one minute to sprint to the other side and back… 14 times. Hence why they’re called “14-in-1s”.
Well, I couldn’t break tradition. I make my 8th grade basketball girls do this every day. The first group goes. Then when the buzzer goes off, the second group goes.
There is an incentive though. If you make it… you don’t have to do it again. Unfortunately, if you don’t make it then you have to do it one more time.
The girls are given a second chance.
As the girls run their hearts out in the 14-in-1s, it hurts me to watch when the whole team doesn’t make it. There’s a few stragglers.
This season, God has really opened my eyes when they’re running their 14-in-1s. It makes me think of all the chances God gives me to get things right. I’m so glad He doesn’t just give me two chances! I’ve failed, failed… and failed some more. As a teacher, as a coach, as a friend, as a daughter, as a Christian. I’ve missed the mark. I’m not afraid to admit it.
The thing about the 14-in-1s is if you don’t make it the first time, you won’t make it the second time. Your body is so tired from working so hard for that first minute, and one minute’s rest in between while the other group goes, is not enough.
I’m thankful the Lord gives us so many chances! However, we can’t lean on that; we have to learn to give our best the first time. Be obedient the first time. Do it right the first time. Try our hardest the first time. Yes God gives us chances. But if we stay stuck where we’re at, eventually we won’t even recognize the opportunities as chances anymore. We’ll continue to miss the mark and overlook those opportunities, and that could even affect the lives of others!
It hurts me to watch the girls who don’t make their 14-in-1s the first time, to have to do it again.
I can only imagine how much it hurts God to continually see us miss the mark when we know exactly what to do and how to do it. Whether it’s with disobedience, sin, temptation, lack of Bible reading, or time in prayer, etc. He’s given us the tools: The Bible, the Holy Spirit, a great Pastor, and even encouraging friends who are in the race with us (which I’ll talk about in part 2 of this the next time)…
I’m thankful for God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and grace… But my advice to you tonight is don’t rely on getting a second or third or fourth chances. We never know when our chances will run out.