Winning a Gold Medal
During these past two weeks, the media has shown us many pictures and videos and live telecasts of the Olympics. I loved watching many breathtaking events - running, walking swimming, rowing, gymnastics, basketball, diving….. all of which made my eyes dilate in wonder and surprise and made my heart race just a little bit faster in awe and delight!
A truly momentous two weeks it has been in the lives of the Olympians, for Great Britain and indeed for the whole world. What an enormous amount of time and effort (and money) has been poured into the event from hundreds of countries and by millions of people! What would the athletes take back with them as they return triumphant or dispirited after their successes or their failures? How many lives would have been changed irrevocably by the event?
As I was scrolling rapidly through Facebook the other day (as I am wont to do), I saw a picture of two tired Athletes. They were walking arm in arm. I didn’t read the whole story but I read part of it. I read enough to be warmed from the inside out. Now, as I started writing my blog, I googled it, looking for this particular story. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it. But here’s what I remember of what I’d read.
The girl coming last in this race was about to overtake the one but last competitor who was struggling to make it. But…. she didn’t overtake her! Instead, she did something inconceivable. She walked alongside this competitor, holding her so she too could make it. And they finished it together. What a wonderful story. I was greatly moved. A little like the story about the Downs syndrome children’s race – where when one little girl fell – all the other children else ran back and helped her up. Then they all went arm in arm to the finish line TOGETHER!
The media has us believe that all that matters is winning gold medals. Yes, winning gold medals is something to aspire to. We applaud those who won medals for their respective countries. But that’s not the end all and be all, is it? Just to be selected to take part in the Olympics is something more than admirable. Every single competitor in the Olympics, be they gold medalists or the last in their events are all winners. I am sure you will agree.
We have Olympics for great Athletes. But all of us can’t be great athletes. Some of us, me included are not even good Athletes. I have to admit that although I loved taking part in games while I was growing up, I failed dismally in any kind of competitive sport. When I played netball, I would often drop the ball. When I ran, I often ended up among the last five.
The only time I did well was at home when I played Table Tennis with my family. I did pretty badly when I played with my Dad who was an excellent TT player. I remember the scores being something like 21 – 3 – and guess who got the 3? But I did improve my game, by playing with our TT Maestro. And I didn’t play too bad a game at all (or so I think) with the rest of my family.
As I pondered over the Olympics, I thought about many heroes in the world – many who will not get a gold medal and who will die unnoticed and unrecognised. Have you met any? What are the medals that God would love to adorn on us – each and every one of us if we try? Medals for Kindness and Compassion? Integrity? Perseverance? Discipline? Medals for Loving others? For Standing up against injustice?
Medals for being Long suffering and Patient? For Courage? For Joy? For Walking in God’s ways? For Pleasing God? For Faithfulness? Medals for Goodness? For Doing the best we can? For Honouring God through our lives? For Loving God? For Humility? For Going the extra mile to help someone is in need? For Endurance through chronic illness? Endurance through chronic pain? Endurance through trying circumstances? For being Hard Working? For being a Good enough Parent? For being a Caring Son or Daughter to an aged parent? For being a Good Neighbour? For showing Forgiveness?
The world looks up to those who achieve. All of us may not be able to achieve great things. But we can all live our lives the best we can. I can’t achieve a gold medal in the Olympics. But I can set out to finish the race I am on. To be a woman of integrity. To become the kind of person God is pleased with. To bless others through my life. To stand up for injustice. To show compassion. To be disciplined and hard working. To aim at living a life that glorifies my Creator. To not only do good but also be good in God’s eyes.
To fulfill my calling. To be there for others. To be a good wife and mother. To please God through my life.
The list is endless. I have many wonderful gold medals to aspire to – ones that would count for Eternity. Not ones that I will claim today and see with my eyes. But ones I know God will pin on me if I choose His ways over mine every day for the rest of my life.
The call is from God.
The choice is mine.
The challenge is one I can accept today.
I know many heroes and heroines in my world – those who will receive the Father’s “Well done”. And I thank God for each of them.
May I too run my race with courage and perseverance!