Purpose vs Pleasure

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

The Queen of England was shunned by the King of Tennis! He had a more pressing agenda than meeting with the Queen.

Rafael Nadal won the last major tennis tournament at the French Open. He also has won at Wimbledon. He is a man who is focused on winning again this year. His focus of purpose became an issue when he had a decision to make.

Queen Elizabeth II visited the All England Club for the first time since 1977. A small group of current and former players, including Roger Federer and the Williams sisters, were invited to attend a private session with the Queen. What an opportunity for Nadal! However, when the Queen’s appearance conflicted with his practice schedule, he decided to practice so he would be in top form rather than meet with the Queen.

Nadal explained that he had a lot of respect for the Queen, but his purpose in being in England was to play tennis. He decided to go with his main purpose. It might be fortunate that he did, because hours later when he took Centre Court it took five sets to beat his next opponent. Did that extra practice time make the difference?

Life consists of decisions for all of us. Real leaders always make the choice to fulfill their purpose, not choose something secondary that might be more enjoyable and easier. Nadal knew why he was in London and made his decisions around knowing that purpose.

The great leader Moses faced a decision. He had the opportunity to choose between the pampered life of being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter or fulfilling his purpose of leadership for the people of Israel. Moses was remembered in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:24 as “He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” He knew his purpose.

Purpose always drives our performance. We act on our understanding of our purpose. Moses did. Hebrews 11:25 reminds us “Choosing to endure ill treatment with the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasure of sin.” Leaders never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate!

Everyday each of us has decisions to make. Oftentimes the decision centers on something that is pleasurable, enjoyable, beneficial, etc. or choosing a tougher road that ultimately puts us in our purpose. Jesus spoke of it as choosing different roads in life. Read Matthew 7:13-27. Life is all about choices. Today’s decision determines tomorrow’s destiny.

Nadal knows that he will not be remembered by whether or not he met Queen Elizabeth II, but how he performed at Wimbledon. His two weeks in London is more about playing good tennis than telling his grandchildren about meeting a celebrity. Our lives are best lived when we go to bed at night knowing that all of our energies were channeled in fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.

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