Sometimes the best way to learn about something is to see what it’s not. I experienced this last night in the form of an Arby’s sandwich.
A week ago, I went to Arby’s for the second time since I was a little boy. I was driving back to work from an appointment and needed to pick up a quick lunch when I saw an Arby’s. Seven dollars, a gyro, and a beef and cheddar sandwich later and I was thoroughly satisfied, so satisfied that I preached the gospel of Arby’s to my coworkers and friends all week.
Fast forward to last night. I finished some leftovers but was still hungry, and twenty minutes before I was meeting up with some buddies, I knew where I was going for a snack. A week of anticipation built me up just to be disappointed – the sandwich was terrible. After one bite I thought to throw the rest away. This reminded me of a valuable lesson: greatness requires being great consistently. A week between sandwiches and Arby’s couldn’t have been further from consistent. I left wishing I had gone to McDonald’s.
We see examples of this everywhere, but it’s most obvious to me in sports. In last year’s NBA finals, Jimmy Butler and Lebron James had an incredible battle in game 5. The Heat were down 3 games to 1 in a best of 7 series. Jimmy Butler scored 35 points and had 12 rebounds and 11 assists as he led his Heat team to a 111 to 108 win to avoid elimination. Lebron James scored 40 points and had 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Both players played an incredible game, but game 6 showed why Lebron James is an all-time great and Jimmy Butler is a really good, but not great player. In game 6, Lebron James scored 28 points and had 14 rebounds and 10 assists while Jimmy Butler only scored 12 points and had 7 rebounds and 7 assists. The Lakers won easily with a final score of 106 to 93 earning Lebron James his fourth championship – Jimmy Butler has zero.
Jimmy Butler had an incredible performance in game 5 and bested Lebron in that game, but what makes Lebron so much greater than Butler is not that Lebron can score more points than Butler on both player’s best days. No, what makes Lebron incredible is his consistency. Even on his off days, he is great.
So how should we respond when we read these words from Jesus’ sermon on the mount?
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
It’s not okay for us to simply make a good burger occasionally or to simply score 40 points occasionally. O, how desperately we need a savior!