I miss the Olympics. For two weeks, we watched athletes compete from around the world in events that most of us will not watch again until the summer of 2020. But, for two weeks, athletes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, the Simone’s (gymnastics & swimming) and so much more captured our imagination and our hearts.
I also enjoyed Nikki Hamblin’s sacrifice. She gave up on her chance to medal by helping Abbey D’Agostino in the middle of the 5000-meter qualifier, New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin leaves Rio with perhaps the most prestigious honor of them all: The Pierre de Coubertin medal, which is reserved for those who best demonstrate the Olympic spirit and has only been awarded 17 times since it was inaugurated in 1964.
But there are a few things that left a great distaste in my mouth as well. Like Ryan Lochte and the insanity of three terrible decisions. 1) Vandalism isn’t blowing off steam, it’s vandalism wth a heavy dose of self-inflicted stupidity. 2) To multiply the stupidity, just make up a fictitious story and blame somebody else. And, 3) Run away and leave your co-vandals hanging in Brazil. Come on man!
And then there was Egypt’s Islam El Shehaby, who refused to bow or shake Israel’s Or Sasson’s hand after losing in the opening round of judoka, which broke just about every rule – written and non-written – in the book. El Shehaby was booed by the crowd for not paying respect to his opponents and was quickly sent back to Cairo by way of the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympics are really amazing. The athletes, the tears listening to your countries national anthem and the pride of competing at the highest level. Every day, we have the opportunity to race, struggle, compete, cooperate, lead, follow, love and hate. Every day, we step onto the playing field and choose how we will run the race before us.
Some of us are totally focused on winning.
Some of us are totally focused on money.
Some of us are totally focused on health.
Some of us are totally focused on ourselves.
Jesus had a definition of how we are to succeed wildly in this day by day competition. He said, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.” Not a lot of wiggle room in that statement.
If serving others were your Olympic event, would you finish today on the medal stand? Would you even be mentioned in the introductions of the athletes? You were created to be a gold medal servant. A servant that is motivated by love and the power of Christ Jesus.
Go ahead, go for the gold. Choose to serve others in the name of Jesus. And then as you lay your head on the pillow tonight, hear the heavenly anthem of the Divine played in your honor as you rest in the assurance that the Lord your God used you to change the world!
The best part of that is the promise that you can do that every single day.
Because in Jesus, you can do all things! Go for the gold today! And go in peace!