For the past few weeks, the eyes of the world have been on London as over 10,000 athletes have been competing in the Olympic Games. Many have been captivated by stories of Gabby Douglas, Lochte vs. Phelps, or the Badminton scandal. There are many interesting sights and sounds at the Olympics, but one of the most striking is the medal ceremony. It’s about a week ago now that Michael Phelps stood on the medal stand, with Old Glory ascending toward the ceiling, the Star Spangled Banner echoing through the building. It was clear that this, his 18th gold medal, was just as exciting, just as fairytale-ish, as his first. One has to admire the dedication it takes to become an Olympic Champion. There are many sacrifices required: Early morning workouts, stringent diets, relentless schedules that cut out most social interaction or other pursuits.
As I watched the medal ceremony unfold, I found myself asking a question. What happens next? Here is a young athlete who has just accomplished their dream, so what’s going to happen when they wake up tomorrow morning? Start training for 4 years now? Retire and move on? Here is an athlete, still in his 20’s, who has already reached the pinnacle of his life. I caught myself feeling just a bit sad, hoping for his sake that he has other things to live for.
As Christians, we could learn a lot from these athletes who devote their lives to chasing an Olympic medal. There is tremendous dedication and commitment that is required if one is to succeed in their chosen athletic endeavor. There is a profound amount of sacrifice that enables the next steps in the chase.
We are called to the same level of dedication and commitment. But the biggest question is: What are we chasing? Are we chasing the things that matter? Are we pursuing the activities, the people, the values, that will bring honor to God and satisfaction to our own souls?
I think of Hebrews 12. Written here, with all sorts of early Olympic imagery, is a call to dedication and commitment.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The writer calls us to endurance, to faithfulness, chasing the only thing that matters: Jesus Christ. As we enter into the Sabbath rest this week, I encourage you to reflect on this question: What are you chasing?
Thank you to everyone who has served in our outreach activities over the past week! In spite of the hot weather, we had around 450 children at SunnyCity last Sunday. Natalia has done an amazing job coordinating this event, but she couldnt’ have done it without the scores of volunteers who worked hard to make the dream a reality.
There were also a few others who were here to serve at our Green Smoothie Girl event on Wednesday. Over 320 guests, many of whom were not our church members, attended to learn about good health and plant-based nutrition. Thanks to Becky Gentry for setting this up and martialing the volunteers to make it happen.
If you haven’t gotten in on the action yet, we are in need of some more volunteers to help with our SunnyCity follow up. We will be back at the park on Sunday with soccer camps, craft camps and other exciting things. But we need more help. Contact Natalia Gramada if you might have a couple of hours to lend to our outreach activities.
Pastors Scott and Shirley are out of town this weekend so I have the privilege of speaking for our worship services. I’ll will have a message entitled, “From Generation to Generation.” We’re going to look more closely at our journey as a faith community. As we enter into the coming months of outreach, how do we insure that we’re communicating a faith that works? How do we make sure that we’re passing on the “right things” to future generations? I look forward to seeing you there tomorrow as we explore God’s word together.