The 2010 Winter Olympics are almost over. Hours and even years of painstaking training have propelled athletes to these few moments of intense competition and physical exertion. And what are they after? Gold medals, fame, the thrill of victory, the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal, world records.
Some will achieve these things, and then tomorrow comes and the world forgets.
I applaud people who make sacrifices to achieve things that most of us can only dream about. Every good gift comes from God, and physical strength, speed, and grace are all good gifts. But we can’t escape the reality that going for the gold is a shortsighted dream. Even the very few who become so popular through their olympic achievements that they score big endorsements and go on to have lofty careers eventually will look back on what they’ve done and wonder if anyone else remembers.
Their medals will be displayed on the wall or the mantel or on a shelf in the closet. Pictures from their glory days will be tucked away in scrapbooks and photo albums. Their memories will fade as their muscles lose their tone. This sounds sad, but it’s just the reality of life.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that life itself is depressing; rather, it means that life never stands still. Things change. Times change. People change. And if we aren’t focused on something bigger and more enduring than gold medals and the crowd’s applause, then what will we really have in the coming years?
If we want to have things that never lose their luster, then we want things the bible calls peace, contentment, godliness, and grace. But like the Olympic athletes who train for years to reach peak performance, our goals require discipline, instruction, and practice. Nobody in their right mind makes the claim that a champion’s life is easy. And those who have been champions will tell you that the adrenaline rush lasts only for a moment. But with God, we have the hope of something better that lasts forever.
The chances are good that a year from now you won’t remember who won the gold medal in women’s curling or men’s slalom or anything else that happened in Vancouver this month. The medal count won’t count for anything anymore. But if you commit yourself to training for God’s service, then you’re guaranteed to live a life full of challenges and the unending satisfaction of knowing that you gave all you had for something that won’t last a lifetime but, even better, will last for an eternity. And God will remember.