Are you watching the Olympics? If the television ratings are any indication, many of you are.
Let me ask you this: Would it ever occur to you to watch water polo, handball or speed walking any other time? Seriously? I find myself watching events I’ve never even heard of, much less watched. I actually found myself rooting shamelessly for the United States archery team. Alas, the team had to settle for the silver medal.
The Olympics really are a fascinating event. Every four years, there seems to be something for everyone. The opening and closing ceremonies attract many who are not at all interested in sports. And many of the more obscure sports capture our attention in ways we would never have expected.
But the most fascinating thing about the Olympics to me (aside from whether or not the latest Dream Team will win the gold in basketball) has to do with the stories of the athletes. When you hear about the great sacrifices that so many of them (and their parents) make to prepare for the Olympics, you cannot help but be impressed. Some families actually move from one state to another to receive proper coaching or to live in the right climate for the sport. Moms and Dads serve as taxi drivers and spend tons of money for travel and equipment.
And the athletes themselves run, lift weights, practice and eat special diets in order to be the most prepared that they can be. The ultimate goal is to win the gold. The gold-medal winner can say with confidence, “For one day, I was the best in the world.”
But many go to the Olympics without a chance of winning any medal, much less the gold. Some have qualified to represent their countries, but the only way they will win a medal is if everyone else fails to show. There is no chance that they can win. And yet, they continue to compete. Why would you do that? What is the point in competing if you cannot win? Is there a point?
Well, it seems to me that there is: Competition helps us hone our skills. We get better as we compete with others. And the whole point of life is not always to win but to give our best effort.
I think of it this way: I’m not as good a preacher as Chuck Swindoll or Charles Stanley. But that’s not my calling. God called me to be the best preacher I can be. If I do that, he will be pleased with me.
What about you? What is your calling? Are you giving your best effort? I pray that you will. Allow God to help you to be the best you can be, and to use your gifts for his glory.
That is the essence of the good life. Be what God created you to be.