“There’s no mystery behind mastery”

Can you imagine trying over and over for 19 years and never experiencing a victory?  You probably can.  Most of us have had our fair share of disappointments.  But the definition of success or reward really depends on what we’re measuring, doesn’t it?

This week’s article begins with a look at one man’s victory at the Masters golf tournament after 19 years of “failure”.

Consider some of the following discussion prompts and related Scriptures on how the Lord defines a win or reward for His people in Christ Jesus.

  • In Matthew 5:1-16, Jesus lists qualities that will make His followers “blessed” (happy) and the light of the world (providing safe and hopeful direction) and salt of the earth (flavor, healing, and preservation).  But all of what He calls “wins” involve different types of loss.  Elaborate on how these reflect good works and glorify the Father in heaven.
  • How does Matthew 6:1-8 describe true “rewards” for those who follow Jesus?
  • For what rewards and commendations were God’s people living in Hebrews 11?
  • In Philippians 3:1-16, the Apostle Paul describes many of his former gains as losses and  his current “losses” in Christ as real gains.  Put the passage in your own words being sure to remain faithful to the context of Paul’s letter and that immediate section.
  • In Luke 9:23-27, the Lord Jesus describes “taking up our cross and denying our selves” as the way to true gain and “gaining the world” as the way to losing our selves.  In a parallel passage in Matthew 16:24-28, He describes this self-sacrifice as being “for My sake”.  Jesus’ description of self-denial for His sake is fundamentally different from what Paul describes in Colossians 2:16-23 as faith in religious regulations.  How so?  Elaborate in detail and support from the context and similar passages.

Now consider this week’s article.


Overwhelming reaction from Serio Garcia’s peers over the 2017 Masters

“There’s no mystery behind mastery” by Chaplain Jeff Dillard (11 April 2017)

“The mood of the crowd at Augusta National when Sergio Garcia broke through to take the 81st Masters, snapping his 0-for-73 winless streak, was particularly celebratory. Fans found it necessary to show their appreciation to the 37-year-old Spaniard for all that he had been through in trying to claim that elusive first major.  The same can be said for friends and fan watching from afar at least judging by the stream of congratulatory messages toward Garcia on social media.”  Legendary golfers Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus tweeted congratulations and praise to Garcia.  Actor Mark Wahlberg added “The SergioGarcia, You own the green jacket now!”  http://www.golfdigest.com/story/masters-2017-the-reaction-from-sergio-garcias-peers-to-his-masters-victory-was-pretty-overwhelming  His 19 years of passion, skill, and perseverance finally paid off.

There’s truly no mystery behind mastery.  We must simply love what we do.  Otherwise, we won’t put in the sacrifices that bring the next element:  skill.  Exceptional skill.  Lastly, we simply cannot quit – even after almost two decades.  Success is more than an award.  It’s a spiritual journey.  Of course, there can only be one #1 in any competitive field.  And in cultures that emphasize success in only a few select fields, the vast majority of us are effectively relegated to the category of “loser”.  And even if everyone could get a trophy to put them on equal ground…wait…that happens, too.  Not many people seem to be satisfied with that either.  So what are we to do with the idea of mastery?

First, we need perspective on investments of limited resources:  time, money, mental focus, physical energy, etc.  Whatever time I give to the office, gym, or other activity, I necessarily cannot give that time to my home.  I may be able to take some family with me, but I can’t spend the same four hours or $100 on two different things at the same time.  So while we’re planning toward our victory, we need to count the likely costs, too.  A “C+” in some areas of my life might be okay.  Other areas may need remain “A-“ or above.  Whatever we decide, a pie can only be sliced so many times before it’s gone.

Second, we can redefine mastery.  A vertical mastery focuses on our win by our excellence over all or most others beneath us.  A horizontal mastery can focus on how those around us win by how our excellence elevates them in some honorable way.  You probably know amazing spouses, parents, and friends who are heroes to their loved ones, but few others know their story.  In their sphere of influence, they’re the best listener, hugger, helper, fixer, truth-teller, forgiver, and keeper in the world.

They need a mastery only we can give.  It’ll take passion, skill, and perseverance.  Stay the course.


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