Will Within Will

 

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

When the invisible Spirit
Moved upon the formless earth
And quickened it to life
Twas a parable of life from birth
The journey of man till death

All life came from the Spirit
All pulses from spiritual impulses
All that is swift was quickened
And all that is living was given

From creation of the physical
To birth of the spiritual
The story changes not by a jot
No man can come to Me except
The Father draws him first
You hatch because of the nest

You believed after wooing
Over heart was Spirit brooding
You opened the gate of self-will
Because the Father willed you to
So His was the Will within will

Those not drawn by the Spirit
May sometimes come drifting
Curious to see the gathering
The assembly of called and faithful
But their singular will
Flails at any buffeting wave

Those who have Will within will
Do not float mindlessly
The Will within propels
To a preordained destination
Berthing at the haven of salvation

End Of All Things

The world grows old and ready
For it’s fiery cleansing baptism
But love for God grows cold
Like the ashes of a cataclysm

The earth sits on a timer
Ticking merrily while iniquity
Abounds and rises to the detonation
That causes the annihilation

Some are cold because of gold
Such will attract the refiner
To purge out the dross
Cleaning like the fabled Fuller

Others are ashen and cold
For the many sundry cares
For fame, title and passion
Are fanned to slumber for years

At Year-end the credits roll
And new targets are set
An endless cycle of chasing
And getting keeps us inert

Hurry and scurry,
Flurry and flourish
Round and about
Until the volcanic kettle
Finally belches its spout

And all accomplishments of man
Melt into dark oblivion
Feats crushed by fervent heat
Greatness faces worry’s extinction

Knowing The Time

For of times and seasons
You are not woefully blind
Unlike those in the dark
Staggering in the midst of mist

There are those that flounder
Away from the coming light
And go further from the star
These are children of the night

Not you – the sun of righteousness
Is rising before your eyes
No more dozing in unbelief
Or tossing to rhythm of lies

You see the signs of His coming
It is time to be sharp and sober
We are heading out at the shout
Onward – not like the rest
Snoring in a thousand year slumber

New Heart & Spirits

Ezekiel 36:26-27

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

 

New heart

He promised a new heart
Not at all like the old
Coarse with sins untold
The joys of the world desiring
Hiding away while God is seeking

But the new heart comes without
The force of forceps
Or the scar of the scalpel
The old one is renewed
Purged with fire by Messiah

New spirit

A new spirit He promised us
If the old departs like that
Then we are twice dead
The old man can not survive
Death or judgement of afterlife

Old becomes new by transformation
New senses pick new stimuli
Old notes become hated melody
No more harmony with imagination
That the Word terms highly contrary

His Spirit

In the midst of heart and spirit
Like the mainspring of the clock
He promised to send His Spirit
A balm to heal the soul
A wheel to steer and control

We can call it a seed now
Planted in a fleshy heart
Teachable now-unlike its stony
Past-when it played Cain’s part
Now God is conducting the Symphony

Enduring

He that endures to the end
He that fights his flailing
Faith and unbelief’s inertia
Shall smile on the day of winning

But to endure one must cure
The syndrome of uncertainty
For who can fight for a cause
That he knows not-with alacrity

The knowing is not for showing
For times come to dig and resolve
When what seems like defeat
Stalks wounded pride like salve

It matters not in the plot
For the whims and tides of battle
Do not determine the outcome
So be not like cowardly cattle

Might of the Spirit is right
Not fleshy warring with tech
And Grace lifts drooping hands
Far higher than sinews can fetch

When the race’s medals are given
After the veil of flesh is riven
The reward for forever running
Will be the crown of forever living

A Rijkaard Reckoning

At the 1990 World Cup there was a crunch second round match between the (then) West Germany and Netherlands. This game was played against the backdrop of an intense footballing rivalry. The Netherlands had lost two world cup finals. On both occasions they were defeated by perennial foes, West Germany.

The Dutch team at Italia ’90 were star-studded. They had the outstanding trio of Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. Van Basten provided the goals and Gullit was the maestro and playmaker. However the single most important player to the team was probably Rijkaard.

He was the truly irreplaceable one. He led the team from deep lying positions and was the fulcrum of the midfield. With his tackling ability and passing range, he could initiate quick attacks after defensive recoveries and interceptions.

With these glittering talents a lot of Dutch fans and football purists expected the team to do well.

The West German team was good too. Jurgen Klinsmann was their star player. They also had a dependable striker in Rudi Voller and a dominating midfielder in Lother Matheus.

In the course of the game, there was a running battle between Rijkaard and Voller. This was to be expected in a no-holds barred match from players who via their positions in the respective formations, were competing for the same zones on the pitch.

In the heat of the contest, Rijkaard allowed himself to get worked up by a pesky Voller and got sent off. In fact, due to the altercation Voller was sent off too.

Both teams were down to ten men. Honours even? Far from it. Rijkaard’s dismissal hurt the Dutch more than Voller did to the Germans. The Germans went ahead to win the game 2-1. They progressed all the way to the final and won the World Cup that year.

After the game, the Dutch coach was scathing in his criticism of his player. He acknowledged that there was some provocation from Voller but expected Rijkaard to know that he was more important to the Dutch than Voller was to the Germans.

Do losses cancel out?

In conflict or in competition, it is often assumed that once both rivals are losing the same amount of resources, then the game/war is even. That is not the case. It is a Rijkaardesque fallacy. Even when losses are equal, effects are not. For instance a man who engages in fisticuffs with his boss, which leads to the termination of both may be the real loser. If he is the sole breadwinner of his family while his boss is not, then in terms of effect and consequence, he is the loser. Thus a parity of losses does not lead to a parity of consequences.

A Pause or a Greater Cause?

Voller’s loss to the German team was merely a misstep on Germany’s stately march to the title. On the other hand, Rijkaard’s unavailability completely derailed his team’s quest for glory. The Dutch could not keep the Germans at bay without their elegant stopper.

An equality of losses on an individual level does not measure the impact on the greater cause/wider team. If you serve a cause that is greater than yourself, risking your time and resources in a ‘side’ fight with another, risks damaging that cause beyond the actual losses you incur.

In the face of many, varied ‘contests’ we face in life, career or business, we must determine if our victories/defeats would not damage our ideals and nobler impulses. If it is only a misstep/pause at worst, then risk it, if it would damage the cause, it is not worth it. We must pick our battles wisely.

We all have ‘Vollers’ that we wish to outwit, tame or fight. Do not win at the expense of your ‘Rijkaards’. Winning your World Cup is better than defeating your ‘Rudi Voller’.

A Joe Cole Metaphor

daniele-levis-pelusi-591637-unsplash

 

This post will be best understood by football fans of a certain vintage….but the lessons are universal.

Joe Cole was a footballer who plied his trade for West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool before he fell off the radar of the elite clubs.

When he broke into the West Ham first team he was clearly a precocious and amazing talent. The English media, notorious for their fawning adulation, loved him. He was supposed to the next footballing genius in the English football firmament and he was not going to stop there. Certainly his star would also burn brightly in the galaxy of world football.

He could do almost everything in the modern game. He could run, he could pass, he could dribble, he could shoot, he was genuinely two-footed, making him a difficult customer when he runs at defenders; he could go either side of his would-be maker.

He could play behind the striker, he was a good fit for the number ‘ten’ role. He could play in wide positions too, either wide left or wide right. He could sit deeper and dictate the play from the number ‘eight’ position. He was the epitome of the modern attacking midfielder. He could play right across midfield.

Yet his career did not bring the laurels that his talents promised. He won trophies at Chelsea but was displaced by more muscular and energetic midfielders who were considerably more prolific goal scorers and had a better ‘engine’ to cover every blade of grass in both boxes. They could work hard both offensively and defensively. Graft was edging out talent.

Or was it? Perhaps it was the case of the sharpened dagger becoming more useful than the Swiss Army Knife.

His output was inconsistent, his influence on games was not all pervasive. Surely a midfielder of his calibre should be dominating games?

A wag once opined that Joe Cole’s problem was his excess and multi-faceted ability. Because he could dribble, run, or pass with either feet, he was often confused by the array of options when he got the ball. Consequently, he frequently lost it. While he dawdled, he was tackled.

While that may be a simple characterization, there is an element of truth in the observation.

When you have too many skills/opportunities, when you have too many credible and viable options, you can easily lose the cutting edge. Simply put, the individual will suffer the confusion of profusion.

This is the confusion that results from having plenty to choose from. While you juggle your choices, the more nimble and focused are ruthlessly pulling ahead.

The player/person with a singular dominant skill has a Hobson’s choice. Just one option. He is forced to knuckle down, work hard and hone that attribute to perfection. That is all he/she has.

He is saved from the confusion of profusion or the paralysis of endless analysis. He/she is thus able to specialize and become the best in that niche.

While Joe Cole offered the fans a tantalizing future that never was, the clearly less multidimensional Frank Lampard soon took centre stage. He focused on becoming the most effective goalscoring midfielder in the league. Not for him the finesse of gliding past players, except with pace and power.

It is certain that time is finite. It is equally certain that finite time when spent on polishing five raw diamonds will achieve less lustre than if the time was spent on one.

What then is the Joe Cole metaphor? It is being the Jack of many trades while being the second best at all. It is for those who derive pleasure from breadth rather than depth. It also speaks of those for whom craft outshines graft.

Or indeed for those whose speed of execution is reduced by analysis paralysis. Or those for whom the gain of plenty brings the pain of procrastination.

To return to the game, we can think of the two footed player who never becomes a specialist set-piece taker on either foot.

In defence of the Joe Coles of this world;
Who needs the deep dregs of deliberation
You can have varied sips of adumbration
If the only thing you lose
For having too much to choose
Is the fate of being first-rate!