August 13, 2012
Dear Marketplace Friend,
Well, it’s over; we can all get back to work.
It isn’t easy getting anything done in the middle of the Summer. Record temperatures across the USA, nagging unemployment giving less people more to do, and more people with nothing to do… and vacations layered across all of that… NBC has kept millions of us distracted for weeks with coverage of the Olympics.
Over 10,000 athletes came to London, from 204 countries. They competed in 29 sports, with 302 separate events. There were 962 medals awarded; America brought home 104 gold, silver and bronze as proof of individual and team achievement. Michael Phelps has retired from the pool with 22 Olympic medals as a personal record of success, from Athens in 2004, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012.
Kids around the world watched – and dreamed – as people not much older than they pushed themselves to the limit in synchronized swimming and beach volleyball; archery and mountain biking; fencing and field hockey; taekwondo and table tennis. Some of them will be motivated to make the massive investment of time, energy and devotion to be wearing their country’s colors in August, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Olympics are inspiring… but they’re not new. Sourced in antiquity, the modern version resurrected after 1500 years of cessation in Athens, in 1896. They have become a fixture of modern international life: individual and national pride is earned through fair and responsible means, allowing honor and recognition without abuse or violence.
How do you get to the winner’s platform, to hear your anthem and receive your prize? It starts with baby steps: begin to develop a baseline of physical fitness; find the field of endeavor in which you seem gifted and inclined; connect with a coach who can refine your performance and inspire your commitment; sacrifice other distractions so that you can maximize your potential… and then give it your all. If you’ve got what it takes, keep your passport in your gym bag: you’re going to Brazil…
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:23-25)
That’s about more than a membership at 24 Hour Fitness, and a Saturday morning jog with your buddies. Paul didn’t try to inspire Kingdom heroism with sandlot softball and basement ping-pong; he likened individual engagement in eternal endeavors with the highest level of athleticism. No average amateur efforts were acceptable when a gold medal race was possible.
Look around: most Christians are content to drop in at God’s Gym (their local church) when nothing “better” draws them away… and as long as they work up a sweat and get their heart rate up for 65 minutes – from the opening prayer warm-up to the closing prayer cool-down – they feel like they’ve earned an honorary medal for just showing-up.
What stands between the gym-rat and the gold medal? It mirrors the journey from church-attendance to winning the crown that lasts forever: make the mental move from watching to doing. Believe that God made you to win the prize. Find the pursuit implied by your divine design. Put yourself in touch with a coach who knows how to develop and challenge you to engage beyond your comfort zone, in reach toward your potential. Begin to perform and see the results. Win some chrome-plated plastic trophies in hometown performances… and believe that God has made you to make a difference.
Untold millions of hours – and billions of dollars – were expended to convene London 2012. What investment is warranted in preparation for the spectacle of Heaven (date currently unknown)?
I don’t know about you, but I’m working on taking home the gold in my race…
Taking Home the Gold
August 13, 2012