The candidates in each class are divided into 7 man boat crews. The instructors seek to put men of similar height into each crew. McRaven was in a boat for tall guys, but in his class there was also a boat for short men. Not one man in that crew was taller than five feet five inches. They called it the “munchkin crew.” The crew had a broad racial and ethnic diversity. The guys in the other boats poked good natured fun at the munchkins, especially targeting the little flippers the munchkins put on their little feet prior to every swim. But the munchkins had the last laugh. They swam faster, ran faster, and paddled faster than all the other boats. They somehow continually finished first before all the others.
What a great lesson, but it hit me in a way that McRaven didn’t specifically mention. There certainly is great wisdom in remembering to look beyond race, physical stature, ability or social status and look at a person’s heart instead. But the great encouragement I got from his comments had to do with how I measure myself. I am very much aware of my shortcomings and fallibilities. I’ve lived a long time and can make an extensive catalog of abilities that I do not possess, or at least have in insufficient quantity and quality. I know the world looks at me and is not much impressed. But the lesson of the munchkin crew is that what matters most is my heart, and that can be big and strong regardless of what else may be true of me or of what people think of me.
However, I found it interesting to note how McRaven defined “heart.” He equated it with a person’s will to succeed. It seems to me that there is a crucial component that he did not address. Will to succeed is pretty much the same thing as determination. If a person has a seemingly unstoppable will to succeed at being the best burglar the world has ever seen or to build a massive drug cartel would we characterize that person as having a great heart? I certainly would not. So I conclude from this that we all face two crucial questions when it comes to heart. The first is what do you desire to do more than anything else in this world? The second is what are you willing to do to accomplish that? In other words, how badly to you want it? What price will you pay to accomplish the goal set before you?
What do I want more than anything else in the world? I desire that my life might glorify God and that I might bring the aroma of the grace of Jesus Christ to every situation I encounter and every person I deal with. I continually ask God to give me a big heart, one that will never give up on pursuing that goal. It encourages me when I remember that even if the world sees me as a munchkin I can still have a giant heart.