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home : religion : inspirational reflections September 24, 2020

7/18/2020 12:17:00 PM
Shaved My Legs For This?

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

I have always been an extreme optimist when it comes to attempting new hobbies. Whether it has been learning the challenges of white-water kayaking, developing a system of robbing honey bees without getting stung, or attempting to play the banjo without ending up divorced, I have truly given my all to whatever was before me.

A few years ago, I developed an interest in riding a bike. I still ride occasionally, but when I was in my prime, it involved every area of my life. When I first started riding, my goal was to go 5 miles, which I thought was a “great” distance. Before I knew it, I was riding 10, 15, 20, and even 50 miles at a time. Between my vegetable and water diet, and riding my bike, I found myself getting into shape faster than I had imagined.

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I started reading books and magazines about cycling, and learning ways to increase distance, endurance, and speed. I convinced my wife that I needed the right helmet, sunglasses, gloves, water bottles, and clothes to be the best cyclist I could be. I even shaved my legs because that is what most male cyclists do. That’s right, they shave their legs to…because it helps…smooth legs increase the…well, I’m not sure why they do it, but I’m confident they have a good reason, and that was good enough for me.

Back to my story, I discovered a bicycle ride in Rutherford County called, “Tour De Pumpkin.” The ride was broken down into two distances, 30 miles and 63 miles, uphill both ways. I talked a preacher friend into riding the 63-mile course with me, even though neither one of us had ridden that far. The way I figured it, if I could ride 30 miles, I could ride 60 miles, and coast the other three miles.

Well, I figured wrong. Before the ride started, the organizer of the event stood up in the back of a pickup truck and was yelling out directions concerning the different routes. I was so far back in the crowd that I couldn’t hear him. Once again, I figured that if I just followed the crowd I would be fine, and once again, I figured wrong.

My plan was to lay back in the crowd and make my move to the front at the end, kind of like the NASCAR race at Talladega. Besides believing I could ride 63 miles; this was the next to the weakest part of my plan. I have never, ever, “laid back” at anything I have ever done. I have always been, “wide open,” to finish whatever I start quickly.

I stayed in the back of the pack for the first few miles, but when a man passed me on a three-speed bike with a wicker basket attached to the front, my pride got hurt. It was time to ride, and ride I did. I (smooth legs and all) passed that old man, and caught up with a group of cyclists that seemed to share my passion not to be passed by a bicycle that was used in the Wizard of Oz by that mean woman who turned into the green witch.

I had been riding several miles when I caught up with another cyclist and told him I was excited about riding 63 miles. It was then my day was ruined. The cyclist told me I was on the 30 mile route and not the 63 course.

What? I had followed the wrong crowd and now I was too far to turn back! Not paying attention cost me my shot at infamy, well, maybe not infamy, but at least not coming back home and explaining to all my friends why I didn’t do what I had planned to do. It’s tough when you don’t have anybody to blame for your mistakes besides yourself.

The spiritual lesson in this story, if you are with the wrong crowd you will wind up on the wrong road, which will lead to the wrong destination. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Who are you following today? If you are not paying attention, you could be in the wrong crowd and not even realize it. You can do all the right things for the right reasons, but not paying attention to one fact can cost you a great deal, regardless if your legs are shaved or hairy. God deserves our best all the time, so pay attention to your life, and all the details that you encounter.

Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!

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