There came a day when the great reformer, Martin Luther, found himself penniless. A request came in asking him to contribute to an important project. He remembered he had a beautiful medal of Joachim II, Elector of Brandenburg, which he had prized. He went immediately to the drawer, opened it, and said: “What art thou doing there, Joachim? Dost thou not see how idle thou art? Come out and make thyself useful.” Then taking the medal, he gave it to the work.1
I think Luther teaches us a strong lesson here that finds application in Tang Soo Do and in life. The thirteenth attitude requirement of Tang Soo Do says, “When you begin to feel idle, try to overcome this.” We cannot rest on past accomplishments. Just because you earned some level of rank in Tang Soo Do does not mean you have permission to stop learning and practicing. There is always something else to learn and refine. This principle is also true for education, work, hobbies, … take your pick. We all have the temptation to rest on past successes and fail to prepare for future challenges. Solomon provides us this most applicable proverb:
A slack hand causes poverty,Porverbs 10:4
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
There are all kinds of “poverty” and “riches.” It is not just money. We may be rich in knowledge at one point, but poor in understanding in another context. We may be prepared to compete at Nationals, and then later have trouble getting through a routine class. Do not let your past successes cause you to become idle.
1. Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 471.