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  • Shari Gabourel

The Confidence Thrower


If you’ve ever watched the Olympics, you’ve witnessed the tournament of all times. Esteemed athletes from around the world gather to display their physical prowess which has earned them a place on the world stage to compete for the coveted gold medal. Of the various contests, there is one, in particular, I wish to reference for the purpose of this discussion. It’s the Discus Throw.


One of the recognizable images often used in the Olympics is the Discobolus. It is the ancient sculpture of a bare athlete maintaining a pose holding a discus in hand. The replica depicts a discus thrower fully committed to discharge the discus to its farthest distance. The imagery captures what I witnessed my daughter do when she became academically frustrated by an algebra word problem. But what she was throwing was much more valuable than a heavy discus.


As a mother of two preteen girls, I am astounded how they share the same DNA, yet bear such distinct and contrasting dispositions. Take school for instance. The younger offspring requires no motivation to initiate and complete her homework. The elder must be prodded and often pelted with verbal warnings to even get her to touch her school work. The younger is the high achiever, while the eldest appears to underachieve and overachieve at will. Yet when her subpar grades are admonished, the older child offers empty answers or worst—asserts, “I can’t do it.”



Then, there is my sweet grandmother who becomes anxiously nauseated when asked to turn on her despised smartphone to see photos of the grandkids sent via text. Nana pleads, “You know I don’t know how to use the phone… can’t you just send the photos in the mail?” Unfortunately, she would rather have a root canal treatment than engage the phone for fear she’s not going to operate it successfully. The matriarch and the grandchild share a mutual belief. Rather than asserting assurance they can do what the occasion requires, they are persuaded of the beguiling opposite. Each one is grievously convinced they possess no such ability, thus, they present no confidence.


Similar to the posture taken by one preparing for the Discus Throw, the Confidence Thrower observes the shrinking actions of two individuals who allowed themselves to become distracted to their God-given virtue when a demand was made. It was not so much that they “lost” their confidence, but rather they threw their confidence away.


And they aren’t the only ones who do that. We have all wavered from a self-assured stance when our cluelessness to a matter got the best of us.


In the book of Hebrews, chapter 10:35-36 of the King James Version, Christ-followers are directed not to cast or throw away ‘your’ confidence. In fact, the sentence begins, “Cast not away…your confidence….” The New International Version (NIV) translation states it like this, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” In either version, the passage denotes an imperative sentence.


You may remember an imperative sentence is a type of sentence that gives instruction or issues a command. Often, it has an implied subject.


Though the subject of the sentence is not expressly identified, because the sentence makes a command or request, the subject implied is “You.” So when reading the indicated passage, it should be read from the context the directive is speaking to YOU.


Notice in verse 35, the author’s instructions are stated with an authoritative voice. Whether your preferred translation begins with Cast not or Do not, the point is understood…whatever follows next is certainly something YOU should not do. In the words of a parent with a toddler, “That’s a No-No!” The text says, “…do not…” Do not what? Do not throw away…throw away what? Do not—throw away—your confidence. Of all things, how can a quality incapable of being physically touched be thrown away? How is that even possible?


Perhaps the discarding of our confidence can be seen in our reaction or response to a given set of events. Or it could be the absence of a reaction or a response is the obvious giveaway we’ve become separated from our confidence.


Let’s begin by defining exactly what confidence means in this text. The Greek word is Parrhesia and denotes outspokenness, freedom in speaking, and assurance. It also means free and fearless confidence and cheerful courage.


The author must have known the meaning because, in his charge, he does not allege the reader has confidence, he concludes it.


As Christ-followers, you and I should conduct ourselves as individuals who actually possess the virtue of confidence. Our actions and speech should express fearless confidence and cheerful courage. And notice we’re encouraged to express confidence—not arrogance. Irrespective of the circumstances we face, we are exhorted to convey outspoken assurance…not in our ability but in the Lord’s ability.


We are not to think or speak of ourselves more highly than we ought to. Likewise, we should avoid devaluing our competency to accomplish a task when at first we don’t succeed. Condemning oneself for a repeated mistake or a particular failing is equally as wrong as the practice of magnifying one’s ability or importance. Don’t allow your economic resourcefulness, education, accomplishments, or the lack thereof to distort your impression of the value God has placed in you.


Friend, you have what it takes to believe and retain confidence in the Lord. Even when you “don’t get it,” be it a pesky algebra problem, the perplexing cellular phone, or whatever it is that has a tendency to cause you extreme frustration, your confidence is not to be thrown away like an athlete throws a discus.


Your inherent confidence should exist free, cheerfully courageous, fearless, with outspoken assurance in the Lord. For such confidence will be richly rewarded. Just wait for it. God’s rewards aren’t lousy. They are well worth our efforts.


Clinching my confidence,


Shari

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