What Makes You Good At Something?

September 10, 202

Are you are good driver? By what metric do you measure that? What skill do you have that you could share with someone? If you were trying to help someone becoming good at it too how would you help them? 

     Is it knowing a lot about that thing? 

     In our imaginary scenario would you want to give them this history and background? Is that important for the skill you are wanting to develop? Would you want them to know the first person whoever did this and why? Perhaps you would tell them about developments over time and how we came to the point we are at today. For example, hockey sticks when I was a kid were wood not carbon fibre. However, knowing this detail adds very little to your ability to play hockey. 

     There are some things that would be necessary to know  like the basic rules or steps. However, you may know all the rules of the road and not be a very good driver. You could know all the rules of a sport and be in a similar situation. I don’t think I every broke any rules when I played baseball but that did not mean that I was good at it. In fact I can tell you that I was not. 

Rather we might suggest that knowing the rules is more like a basic necessity to do many things; sports or driving as mentioned above. If you own a firearm or even if you just want to shoot one at a target, there are many safety rules you need to know and follow. However even when you follow all those rules you may still miss. Similar rules plus a few more related to seasons and legal harvesting are important for hunting. Again, you may be very safe, and totally compliant with all the rules but you may not be a good hunter. 

     One point must be emphasized before we move on. Knowing some things and following certain rules is necessary. For example following rules won’t make you good at basketball but if you don’t know and follow the rules you don’t know if you’re playing basketball at all. 

     I’m sure by this point many of you know the answer. It’s practice. Good, thoughtful practice is what you need to get good at something. The things we practice become part of us. For a good player, shooter, driver, the skills needed to do well become second nature. I have often been in cars with people who signal even turns in parking lots. Why? It’s not because they think it’s needed it’s because signalling has become a natural part of turning the car. This brings us to a critical point. The Bible has rules to be followed, there is no question about that. Knowing them and following them is important. However, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that following rules it what makes us good Christians. The problem is we can follow lots of rules while never really putting our faith into practice. If we want to be like God his word, his values, his priorities need to become second nature. We need to spend time, talking, praying, loving, studying, encouraging, sharing, helping. That these stop being things that we do and become who we are. Scripture can and must inform our faith II Tim 3:15-17, but it can’t put it into practice for us. 

~ Kevin Cleary