“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt
2014. The end of one thing and beginning of another. For some it came with a sigh of relief symbolizing a chance to start again, an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past year, a shot to re-evaluate and re-calibrate. For some it was a sweet parting that left a smile on their face, joy in their hearts, and hope on the horizon. For others it slipped away too quickly and took with it unfinished business, unrealized dreams, and unmet expectations. Regardless of the feelings you had at midnight on December 31st 2013-the condition of your relationships, the status of your goals for the year, the dreams dashed or realized, the fulfillment or letdown or heartache you experienced over the course of 365 days-the clock ticked on and brought us into a new year. Time knew no compassion and slowed for no man. It ticked on unhindered by the beings that measure so much of their lives by it. Time. It is constantly the thing we work against, that limits us, that we can never have enough of. And yet it is the yard stick by which we measure our progress and fulfillment and accomplishment.
Jesus had 33 years on this earth. 33 years. Today, we’ve barely begun by 33. At 33 you might have just gotten out of the starting blocks with a career, a family, your financial stability. 33 seems so limited. So how did 33 years lived by one man make an impact that has never and will never be overshadowed by any other life? Because he dared greatly.
I don’t know that any other quote has struck me to the core so swiftly and damaging as Mr. Roosevelt’s above. The challenges presented in his words are bold enough to motivate me to fight lions, to jump off a cliff, to get into a boxing ring. Anything but stand on the sidelines. But at the core of these statements I know he’s not talking about feats of human strength. His challenge is to pursue relentlessly passions and dreams, to find the heart of life at the bottom of your poured out soul, to leave everything on the field, to make every effort regardless of the certainty of the outcome. Forget time. Measure your life by the amount of it you give away, the greatness with which you dare to live it. Time was no limiting factor for Jesus Christ because he leveraged every second with daring love, compassion, and grace. It didn’t matter that he only lived 33 years because it wasn’t the time he spent with people that made a difference. It was the love with which he loved them, the forgiveness he was willing to extend with one word, the grace that he lavished us with when we didn’t deserve it.
In 2014 I want to dare greatly. To leverage every second in a relentless pursuit of Christ. I need to stop looking at my watch, waiting on the time when my life will start and things will be the way I want them. Like I said, there’s no fulfillment in a ticking clock, no compassion, no encouragement, no love. This year is about getting into the arena whether I feel equipped or not because the adventure of my life awaits me there. Join me?