The idea of “leaving it all on the field” or, in my case as a former high school wrestler, “leaving it all on the mat” isn’t a new one in our culture. Even those of us who were not athletes understand what it means to give everything you’ve got to family, career, marriage, and other relationships. The hard part is the “everything” part. It’s always felt so … comprehensive. What does this really mean? How do I quantify my effort? Does giving everything mean I’m left with nothing?
There’s an account in 2 Kings in which King Joash seeks out the prophet Elisha to receive a word from God. At the time, Joash was surrounded by an enemy, the Arameans, who outnumbered Joash and his army to such a degree that the king was legitimately concerned about defeat in what appeared to be an imminent battle. Even though Joash was likely old and frail by this point in life, he likely mused, “Why not? Anything is worth a shot.” So he sought Elisha for a word from God.
Elisha responded to Joash’s request by instructing him to take a bow and arrows, open a nearby window facing the enemy’s encampment, and shoot his arrows in that direction. After this, Elisha told Joash to strike the ground with his remaining arrows, which Joash did — two or three times. (In other words, he struck the ground half-heartedly.) Second Kings 13:19 reveals to us, “The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times. Then you would have struck down Aram until you had put an end to them … ‘“.
When given instruction on how to move forward to victory, Joash held back. He held a few arrows back for himself and then when he was told what to do with those arrows, he left a little on the field, so to speak. He wasn’t willing to trust completely, surrender totally, or put all of his arrows in God’s proverbial basket.
Maybe you can identity with the king. I know I can. As men, continuing to engage the battles of life — the fight for our hearts and the hearts of our wife and children, the fight over finances and how we deploy the time we’ve been given, the fight over balance of career and family —we have to sell out to the One we can trust. To find success on this journey and navigate the difficult path toward total commitment to God and His design for us, we need to be in community. We need to work out our faith with a group of men with a similar desire to leave it all on the field.
The second group discussion in No More Excuses by Dr. Tony Evans is titled, “No More Holding Back.” This is just a glimpse of the discussion you and your men’s group might have as a result of engaging No More Excuses, the most recent release from LifeWay Men. For more about the more complete No More Excuses experience visit lifeway.com/nomoreexcuses.