Sunday, March 5, 2017

Worth More Than Gold

We may not all compete for Olympic medals, but we all have something God intended us to make a difference in. We can all be game changers and history makers if we step into the purpose which we are called.
I've always been really into the Summer Olympics; in my lifetime: Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London, Rio... but when my boss said, "Here comes the Olympic addict" three days into the Brazil games, I started to wonder if maybe I was a little too into the age-old competition.
I think about what the Olympics does. What the human spirit is capable of. To me, it inspires. It brings the best of the best together. It takes stories and it propels them to greatness. It makes your jaw drop in awe, your heart leap with excitement and your own spirit want to stand up and contribute something special to the world you live in. And only coming around every four years (two if you count winter), only adds to the degree of uniqueness it carries.
My friend and I were watching the opening ceremony this year and she told me she had read an article stating that the Olympics was actually mentioned in the Bible. Naturally I had to know where and asked her what verse it was found in. We looked it up and stumbled across 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 which says,
"Do you not know that in a race everyone runs, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way 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."
The Message says it this way,
"You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold-medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. I don't know about you, but I'm running hard for the finish line. I'm giving it everything I've got."
I was intrigued and thrilled that something I love today was used way back in the Church at Corinth as a metaphor to live life to the fullest. But God wasn't going to leave it at just a neat thought. He kept stirring and prompting me to go further – to see more.
And I did. He showed me a generation of "athletes" standing in the wings and waiting to have their moment. He showed me how Christ followers could capture the spirit of the Olympics and do amazing things in His name. He revealed that their is a unique champion inside all of us and we have the ability to do things we never dreamed of when we surrender ourselves to Him.
We may not all compete for Olympic medals, but we all have something God intended us to make a difference in. We can all be game changers and history makers if we step into the purpose which we are called. What a stark comparison of greatness. The Olympic cities are filled with people known for talent. And I hope God's people are known by what we can do too. God fills us with the ability to inspire. To keep going. To give our best. To bring hope to a dark world. If we all chased our purpose like Olympians we would put more in the world then just a dent in the medal count.
It's not just up to God though. We must train. We must believe in impossibilities. We must listen and draw from our coach. We must "run the race to win." The road to the podium stand is always filled with many moments of wanting to give up, of pushing ahead anyway and of not seeing God at work but knowing fully that He is. Our victory doesn't come in what we can do but rather in that moment when we can look to a lost and hurting world and say, "Look what God has done in me."
I love this quote my pastor shared by D.L. Moody that says, "Our greatest fear should not be failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter."
I don't know how you've been running your race lately or what obstacles may be standing in your way, but I want to encourage you to re-evaluate your goals and your time and your focus. I want to help you become the greatest all around in your field. I want you to experience all God has for you. And I want you to hit the finish line in gold medal fashion, giving it everything you've got.
I love the Olympics and I'm so proud to have such talented athletes representing our country but even more I love people who are running the race of faith, of a life after God. Of a life that truly matters. Let it be said of each one of us that we are being effective and giving our event all we've got. Let us move forward as if we were training for the Olympics. No matter where God has you or what you do...there is something more. Something for you to conquer, somebody for you to touch and something for you to do beyond your wildest dreams. And when you live like that, it's worth far more than gold.
See you at the finish line everybody. Run with all you've got. I believe in you.
-Only Hope

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