Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Terra Cotta Warriors {Man Up - A Father's Day Series & Giveaway}

My writing ministry has mostly been geared toward women, though we gladly welcome our male readers. Recently God placed on my heart to do a series for men. Something to encourage men and lead them to resources that are just for them. Since I'm not a guy {my husband is pretty happy about that fact}, I asked a few guys to write some manly encouragement just for men. So men, make sure you hang around this week as you will be challenged and inspired. And ladies, lead your men here!

Share this great series and giveaway with all of the men in your family and be sure to check back on Saturday for great resources!

Today is day 1 in the Man Up series and I am thrilled to have the husband of one of my best friends with us, Tom Davis. Tom has an incredible story {which you will read part of in his bio} and I know his words will encourage you. Please help me welcome Tom.

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from 
all their labors at which they toil under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3

Last Summer, we took a family trip and one of our stops was to the Indianapolis Children's Museum.  Their showcase display was of the "Terra Cotta Warriors."  If you don't know, the first emperor of China built approximately 8,000 of these clay warriors in China and then they were buried until recently.  Each one is molded out of this local clay and then given individual features, weapons, and a custom paint job.   This army is complete with infantrymen, archers, generals, calvary, horse drawn wagons, civil employees, and entertainers.  The army is buried in several tombs across the countryside and also includes a massive palace for the emperor.  It really is an impressive feat considering the Emperor was just 13 when construction began and that it was constructed around 200 BC.

It is believed that Emperor Chin built these for 3 reasons:
1.  as a show of his glory
2.  to remember the army that triumphed over the other Warring States to unite China
3.  because it was believed that objects like statues can be animated in the afterlife, and because Qin Shihuang required an after-death army.

It is estimated that it took 35 years and over 700,000 workers to build this army.  I did some research online and everyone has raved about this massive find, calling it one of the greatest finds of the 20th century.

While I was greatly impressed by the exhibit and the grand scheme of all of this, when leaving all I could think of is, "What a tremendous waste of time, money, and resources."
Emperor Chin was credited with other great contributions to society including standardizing weights and measurements and building the first part of the Great Wall of China.  But, I just try to imagine what this emperor could have accomplished and contributed to the world had he dedicated the time, money, and resources to something useful.  Every one of us has been blessed with certain talents and gifts.  Obviously, Emperor Chin's was being a leader.  But, he was also filled with paranoia, vanity, and obsession.

When I look at my talents and gifts, I like to think Paralympic cycling is one of them.  Last year, I won two National Championships, rode for the US National Paracycling Team, and took a 5th place and 10th place in the UCI World Championships.  I ended up being ranked 11th in the world for my sport class.  But, winning medals and jerseys are not the reason that I do it.  My medals sit in a box in my closet.

If I don't use my talents, gifts, and resources to know Christ more, to help others know Christ, and show them the love of Christ, then my talents and gifts are just as meaningless as these clay warriors.  My talents and gifts might as well be buried too.

Instead, I try to help others become better or just learn the sport, I try to use my success to motivate others to overcome challenges in their lives, and I use paracycling to share my testimony.  I do this because of one of my favorite scriptures:

Do all things to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

So, what are other Terra Cotta Warriors?  What are my obsessions that I put before my relationship with Christ?  Material things, family, job, hobbies, sports?  None of these things, in themselves, are bad.  Yet, if they hold more importance to us than Christ, then they are meaningless.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing
worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost
all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Philippians 3:8

 If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother,
wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—
such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry
their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:26, 27 NIV

Tom Davis grew up in Michigan and graduated with honors from Northwood University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

After working several jobs in Management, he realized that it wasn’t the right path for him.  Ever since College, his focus was more on partying and excess.  After college Tom began to run into trouble with the law.  In order to make a better life for himself, he decided to join the Army in 2002.

Tom immediately excelled in everything the military had to offer.  He deployed to Iraq twice and was promoted to Staff Sergeant before he retired.  Tom was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq in 2005-2006, quite literally the most dangerous place on Earth at the time.

On June 3rd, 2006, the Humvee that Tom was commanding was destroyed by a roadside bomb.  He received multiple serious injuries including the loss of his left leg, broken arms, concussion, PTSD, and TBI.  However severe these were, nothing compares to the loss of his Gunner on that night, SPC Brett Tribble.

Tom spent 15 months at Walter Reed Military Hospital where he was introduced to a handcycle.  At the time, it was just a form of exercise and therapy but it turned into much more.  After his handcycle spent 3 years in a storage shed, Tom was praying one day and heard God telling him to get the bike out and ride it to glorify God.

He has been doing it ever since.  Since 2011, Tom has competed in over 50 races across the world.  He was won every marathon he has ever competed in and has raced for the US National Paralympic Team in Europe and at the 2014 World Championships.  He was ranked 11th in the world in 2014.

But, Tom believes that it’s not about wins or medals.  But, it’s more what you do with them.   He has mentored other handcyclists, held racing clinics, and given motivational speeches.  He has spoken in schools, community organizations, youth groups, and in Churches – sharing his message of hope and his faith in Jesus Christ.

Tom is from Fremont, Indiana where he currently lives with his wife and four children. You can follow along with Tom on his paracycling journey on Facebook.

One blessed man will win:
5 Love Languages for Men
Not Of This World t-shirt
Matt Maher - Alive Again cd
Mercy Me - Lovewell cd
Hawk Nelson - Crazy Love & Light Sides cd
Jars of Clay - The Shelter cd
Group 1 Crew - Outta Space Love cd
Disciple - Horseshoes & Handgrenades cd

To enter the giveaway, complete each task in the rafflecopter below.

1 comment:

  1. Welcome, Tom. I love your story. You took what could have easily destroyed you and turned it into the greatest of testimonies! God bless you as you follow His leading!


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