Friday, August 22, 2008

Taking Home the Gold ... or not?

Have you been watching the Olympics? Seen the women's gymnastics?
I've been utterly amazed by the sheer strength, skill, and grace these women posses as they twirl, swirl, and flip through their routines. Wow! I'm continually awed by what the human body can actually do. I'm not particularly "awed" by my own right now, but those gymnasts do things that are mind boggling and even mind blowing.
Then, after all the spectacular events, we were treated to tears of triumph as the competitors received their medals, in particular the always coveted Gold.
For many athletes, only the Gold matters. Nothing else will suffice. This year the US set records gallore and we saw history made as Michael Phelps took home eight gold medals, finally achieving his longtime, personal goal.

Now what? If your goal is a specific award or title and you finally obtain it, what remains to accomplish? Is that achievement going to bring lasting satisfaction and peace?

Sorry, I don't mean to sound so gloomy, but when we as Princess Warriors for Christ focus all our attention and efforts on winning a wordly prize, we miss the mark.

Actually, if all we want is Gold here on earth, we may miss the lasting rewards of Heaven. When we leave this life, we can't take any oscar statues, olympic medals, or pulitzer prizes with us. In fact, without the Internet or news, I wouldn't even remember a quarter of the past Olympic champions or Oscar winners. Okay, so we'll remember Phelps for years to come, but you know what I mean.

When we set our sights on worldly success, we always end up suspicially empty down the road. The spotlight will eventually dim and the applause will cease. Life will go on and our achievements will be forgotten by many. So, then what?

I remember the excitment when my words were first published in an article and then a book. I thought I'd finally "made it." My goal was met. I was published. And ... I was published. So? The next day I was still me. My bills still had to be paid and I felt like I had to accomplish more. Because the truth remains, if we expect our accomplishments to fill us up, we will discover a simple truth: they don't.

Now granted, achieving success is awesome, but unless it is done for God's glory, unless we put Him centerstage, we will find ourselves seeking bigger and better accomplishments to, well, accomplish. When we're not doing what God has for us to do, and storing up rewards in Heaven, we're not doing what we're suppossed to be doing.

There are so many "good things" that we can do. Yet, if they're not the "God things" we're called to complete, we will fall short.

When we walk into eternity someday, laying our medals, trophies, and awards at the feet of our King will not be enough. They will not survive the fire. God values our love and service. Did we feed the hungry? Visit those who were imprisoned? Help widows? Provide for children? Love our enemies? Forgive others? Speak the truth? Practice grace and giving? Those are the things that bring our King glory and us His pleasure.

I want to hear my Lord say, "Well done, Carol, my good and faithful servant." He will look at what is in my heart, not the things I won on earth. Earthly prizes will not impress Him; love will.

I don't know if Mr. Phelps is or isn't a Christian. If he is, he can use his new platform as a famous athlete to bring glory to God and help others. He can ask God how to best use his athletic achievements to bless others and expand God's Kingdom.

Ladies, we can do the same. Whatever we do let us do it all for God's glory and purpose. Let us remember that the finish line we are running toward is very different from the one the sprinters crossed in Bejing. For if we belong to Christ, and are running the race for Him, in the end, we will all win Gold, or should I say "win" God? That's right. We get the biggest award of all -- eternity with the King of Kings.

So let us throw off all that so easily entangles us and run the race set before us, trusting that what we seek is far better than any reward this world has to offer. Amen!


Clueless said...

This is an inspiring post...I'm ready for a run, but my body isn't. But, I am actually speaking of running the race to the end...that is the important part. Not how we get there, but did you make it. It reminds me of so many athletes who are not in the spotlight those that have their own personal victories outside of the media.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Just curious, how did you find it?

TrueHope said...

"Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs," Paul stressed, "but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." (1 Cor 9:24-27, NLT).

Destined2bd1 said...

I loved your post! This is my first time visiting your blog and i stopped by to say thank you so much for the comment, it means a lot to me, to know that someone somewhere is actually reading my thoughts and sharing along with me! (even if by accident). Like i said, this was my first visit, but definately not my last, i enjoyed what i've read so far, i'll be see ya soon. (smile)