Go for the Gold

The Olympics are taking place: the stirring Olympic trumpet fanfare is heard, the five interlocking circles are displayed, and athletes are in the spotlight. Hence, today

The Olympics are taking place: the stirring Olympic trumpet fanfare is heard, the five interlocking circles are displayed, and athletes are in the spotlight. Hence, today’s Equipper offers random thoughts regarding Olympic athletes and Christians serving together in the church.

What’s your goal? All athletes talk about their goal: to earn a medal, win the gold, or simply to make it to the Olympics. That goal governs their actions for years. What is our goal in serving? Our church’s goal? Our goal for all who serve in our church?

It takes hard work. We’re awed by the unending hours of training, the personal and financial cost, the sacrifices the athletes make for the chance to ‘be the best.’ The goal is worth the work. Is serving in the church our ‘hard work’? Or is it the goal for which we are willing to work hard?

Get the best training. All the top athletes have their coach with them at the start or awaiting them at the finish. Speed skaters hear their coach shouting at them each lap. And those coaches have been with them every step of the way. How much training and coaching do church volunteers receive?

People mess up. Figure skaters fall down. Slalom skiers miss a gate. And some athletes violate the anti-doping rules. Whether an attempt to deceive, or simply an inability to do what they want to do, the mess-up has consequences which must be faced. Are we prepared to deal with it when church volunteers mess up?

People get hurt. When you hurl yourself down an icy mountain at the speed of a car on the interstate, you can get hurt pretty bad. When you give your time and your self to others in the church, you can also get hurt. Are caregivers at hand?

Sometimes there’s not much difference between people. Watching a series of downhill skiers, I can’t see the differences the announcer details—one is taking the curves a little wide, one has a better tuck. And the differences in time are often just fractions of a second. All are excellent skiers. All our fellow workers have much in common—a love for the Lord, a desire to serve, a need for love and acceptance.

Sometimes there’s huge differences among people. In pairs figure skating, the women could not throw their partners into a triple spin. The competitors from the smallest countries often can’t finish anywhere near the top athletes. Not only their training, but innate abilities also dictate the winners. Our innate abilities determine where we’ll serve best in the church. Discovering and developing those abilities is easier with the help of friends.

Something new is added. This year the snowboard cross is new and is getting lots of attention. New events reveal new talent. What’s new lately in your church?

Have fun. An American woman blows her lead in the snowboard cross competition by crashing because she attempted an unnecessary, flamboyant maneuver. She laughs it off. Having fun, and not taking ourselves or our work too seriously, is healthful.

When the Olympics are over, people go back to real life. Even the majority of the top athletes will get little attention outside their family and community once the competition ends. But church is where we meet and worship and serve, week upon week, as long as God grants life on earth. Here is where real life happens and the most important work is done. Here is where the Spirit gives life that never ends.


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