By the time you read this, the Olympics will be over by several hours. After almost two weeks of absolutely breathtaking scenery and physical prowess, and some not-so-breathtaking reporting, I’m on Olympics overload.
I wonder how the participants are feeling? While some will be ready to take a break from the intensity of their sport, looking forward to their own beds, soaking away those aching muscles in hot tubs, a few will experience an emotional letdown after all the preparation and participation. Almost all are already looking forward to the next competition.
Frequently words read or ideas discussed rattle around in my head until before I know it, a biblical (or vaguely spiritual!) connection surfaces. This about the Olympics: Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith… Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God… We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over… (All from The Message paraphrase of the New Testament.)
It’s easy to experience “Christian service” overload. We serve and no one notices (we’re so far from the podium that our names don’t register on the scoreboard). We work and the announced goals remain unmet (all that practice endured, all that money spent and we fall on our faces before reaching the finish line). We’re told that our service is no longer wanted (only the top three board the plane for Sochi). We don’t agree with the leadership (“It’s all my coach’s fault.”) My needs aren’t being met (too much yogurt in the cafeteria).
How do the athletes keep going? While there is personal pride, commitment to the sport and—in some cases—monetary gain, interviews indicate that these well-trained men and women have their eyes on the gold. While some are grateful for the silver or bronze, almost all say they strive for that ultimate prize, the gold medal.
It’s not any different in our lives although a gold medal is much too low a prize. The Apostle Paul said, “I want to know (intimately experience) Christ…I press on toward the goal.” Another writer recorded, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
In my life, service overload happens when my eyes get “fixed” on something—or someone—other than Jesus. When I focus on Him—how He lived His life, how He empowers mine, how He related to the people and circumstances that frequently disappointed Him—it’s so much easier to keep on keeping on.
THE Olympics are over. OUR Olympics never end.