Monday, March 14, 2016

The Weight Of Being An Expert

It happened again five days ago. I was doing a typical lifting workout at Chancellor’s Fitness Center before Wednesday night Bible study. On MWF, I do upper body work both before and after school and TThS, I do a lower body routine, followed by swimming every day. On Wednesday, I was performing one of about twenty different exercises which I rotate depending on the day, as well as how I’m feeling. I was doing a twisting routine, swinging a 45 pound weight plate from side to side at shoulder level. A young man in his mid twenties with a French accent came over to me as I was drinking water between sets. Very politely, he said:
“Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me what muscle groups you are working and the benefit from that routine?”
Here is what is incredible. About six weeks ago, another guy asked me the same question, identically, almost to the word. The main difference is the first guy spoke with a German accent. Both times, I responded honestly and almost apologetically:
“I’m sorry but I really don’t know. It’s just something I got off of YouTube.”

I take it they were both disappointed, like they thought I was some big-time trainer. But, in reality, I know very little about how and why the body and muscle groups develop when twisted and contorted in certain ways with certain weights. So my go-to source of knowledge is YouTube. I just type in weight plate workouts and voila', I'm an expert.... or so some people erroneously believe.

I'm not sure what characteristics bestow on us an air of credibility in our world. I do know I've been mistaken for a doctor in Honduras and a store manager in WAL-MART. People have asked me if I'm in the military because I make use of Sir/Ma'am when I speak. I am a Bible teacher/basketball coach who has taught the Social Sciences and coached baseball. I've worked on farms and in a grocery store. I've been the commissioner of a youth baseball league, painted houses, and labored on a maintenance crew. Currently I'm also employed as the English Coach/Makes me Laugh Consultant for my future accountant, the stunning Yanping Cheng. But never before have I been confused for a fitness guru. Maybe I'm missing something!

I'm not sure quite when it happened but it seems like the number of those who have been anointed or maybe self-anointed as experts in any number of arenas has exploded since I was a kid. My guess is that it has something to do with chat rooms and message boards and talk radio. In sports, there are those who claim to know the identity of the best fifth grade basketball shooting guard in the US which is absurd. The only thing I think I might be an expert in is getting little kids to put loose change in plastic bottles for poor children in countries which begin with the letter H. The scriptures spoke about distinguishing those who were put up as teachers or prophets- by their fruits. Good tree: good fruit. Bad tree: bad fruit. You know, apples came from apple trees and not peach trees. And we know fruit doesn't show up overnight. It takes time and nurturing. In the final verse of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew records that, 'the crowds were amazed at His (Jesus') teaching because He taught as one who had authority and not as their teachers of the Law.' The authority of the Savior was evident when held up against those perceived experts of the day. I'm afraid any so called expertise I might have would wither in the light of inspection two thousand plus years later whether in the classroom or on the court, in the corn fields or in the weight room. Let's be careful before crowning the latest genius or savant. Just remember this- I get my knowledge on You Tube...... and I don't think I'm alone!

Applicable quote of the day:
"I lift quite heavy weights, but unfortunately no one believes me."
 Cyrus Broacha

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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