There’s a phenomenon that is overtaking endurance training known as “minimalist training.” The advocates of minimalist training are quick to point out the typical endurance athlete over trains by thinking, “if some is good a lot is better.” As a result, many, if not most, endurance athletes go to competitions in a state of being worn out. So the minimalist trainer says, “just do what you have to do and no more.”
Although a minimalist mindset seems to be working for many today in endurance sports, it’s really cheating Christians as they shortchange God by giving Him the minimum to just get by. This “get by” attitude was the topic of discussion of many people in the days of Jesus. “What is the minimum requirement to say we kept the law?” It’s interesting that Jesus’ answer does not advocate a minimalist attitude, rather a “sellout everything to God” attitude.
Mark 12:28–34 (ESV) — 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
How about you? Are you looking to do the minimum when it comes to serving God so you can look the part, or are you living a “sold out” life to Him? Anything less than excellence as in giving your best would be robbing from God. Consider why we offer ourselves to be consumed as an offering to God – because of what He has done for us!
Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) — 1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Jesus said that a “sell out” attitude is required of His followers.
Luke 9:23–26 (ESV) — 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Luke 14:33 (ESV) — 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
God told His people that when they gave less than their best, they robbed from Him.
Malachi 3:8 (ESV) — 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
Malachi 1:13 (ESV) — 13 But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord.
Or consider how Solomon reminds us the way an unfaithful servant is perceived by a master who is counting on him to do his best:
Proverbs 25:19 (KJV) — 19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
So wait before you subscribe to minimalist training when it comes to serving the Lord Jesus Christ. It may make sense to be smart and not do so much if you are training for an endurance event, but that attitude toward serving God is an offense because it implies service to the King is not worthy of your best.
What will it be for the Lord Jesus Christ – sellout or minimalist?