I made the statement in a sermon I preached recently that most everybody is facing a situation in life that is causing them to struggle to find a way forward. Sometimes the only way to discover the way forward is by examining the past. When we examine our past, we sometimes discover that the way God chose to move us forward in our situation, as painful as was, was to re-purpose us. In other words, He didn’t change our situation; He changed us! It was a watershed moment. Life went go on. However, it will never be the same! Again, the way forward required our re-purposing. To that end, I then shared the story below.
In his book, “Rediscovering Discipleship”, Bobby Gallaty shares a story that Steve Murrell tells in his book, “WikiChurch.” I think you’ll enjoy it. Be sure you read it to the end. Wait on it!
“A ten-year-old judo student was seriously injured in a car accident. The student’s arm was so badly injured that the doctors were left with no choice but to amputate it. Everyone thought his judo career was over, yet, despite his handicap, he persevered and continued his training. His teacher, aware of a plan the boy didn’t yet understand, taught him one move and one move only. The boy petitioned his teacher every day to teach him more than one technique, but the teacher would not change his mind. Every day of every week of every month was spent perfecting this one move.
The boy entered his first tournament after the injury, and against all odds, advanced to the finals. His opponent in the finals was more seasoned, faster, stronger, and, as was immediately apparent, in possession of all his limbs. The match was a stalemate until the seasoned competitor lost focus for a moment. The one-armed boy performed the only major move he knew, and his opponent could do nothing to counter it. To everyone’s surprise, the one-armed boy was crowned champion.
According to Murrell, the one-armed boy won the match for two simple reasons: ‘First of all, he has mastered one of the most difficult moves in all of Judo. Second, the only defense against that move is to grab your opponent’s left arm.’ Although I cannot confirm if this story is true, it still communicates a principle we all must learn: Simplify. Learn to keep the main thing the main thing. When we do this and stop majoring on minors, we become far more effective in our ministry efforts …”
In essence, the life of the ten-year-old-one-armed-boy was re-purposed. Hey, life ain’t always fair! Sometimes it deals us some tough blows! It throws us for a loop. It forever changes our normal and forces us to develop a new normal. The boy was forced to simplify. He had to learn to do what he could do – with what he had – instead of focusing on what he couldn’t do – because of what he didn’t have. He also learned that sometimes a handicap can be the very thing that insures victory! His left arm had been removed. Consequently, the boy was re-purposed. Yes it was painful. Yes it was frustrating. And no, it wasn’t something he would have chosen to have happen to him. But because of it, when he executed the move he had perfected, his opponent couldn’t defend against it. Therefore, his handicap brought him victory in a tournament that, most likely, he would not have won had his life’s circumstances not re-purposed him.
Sometimes the way forward in life requires our re-purposing. What a lesson for us to learn! Remember, Romans 8:28(KJV) is still in The Book! “And we know that all things work together for good …” All things – even those things that re-purpose us.