It’s official. My family has Olympic fever! We DVR’d over 15 hours of Olympic footage and literally watched ALL of it in one day (fast forwarding through commercials and some of the sports we were not interested in). My family always enjoys watching these athletes from around the world compete and put everything they have toward the goal of that gold medal. It’s just fascinating to watch!
The one thing I was most interested in watching was the men’s swimming competition. All of the hype about the competition between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. It seems that two guys, both on “Team USA” have a larger competition going on between them than they do against other countries competing in the games! Crazy, right? Well, all the hype didn’t disappoint because sure enough, Ryan won the gold and Michael didn’t even get on the podium for the freestyle race.
What grabbed me, though, was the news chick on the side of the pool interviewing these men. She grabbed Ryan first asking him ridiculous questions such as, “Were you worried you couldn’t beat Michael?” and “How does it feel to win a medal and Michael didn’t make the podium?” Now, of course, Ryan handled it with class and pulled the focus back to HIS win (where it needed to be) and not on Michael’s loss. Ryan replied at the end that he’s just looking forward to his next race.
Then she grabbed Michael Phelps and the inflammatory questions began again . . . “how does it feel to watch your team-mate take the gold and you not get a medal at all?” <sometimes I wish these athletes would look at the interviewer flatly and say, “Oh, I don’t know, how do YOU think I feel right now, lady??!!”> Anyway, Michael replied with amazing class that he plans to work on his strategy in the water and he is not focusing on the race he just lost, but rather looking forward to his next races. He just wanted to put that race behind him where it belongs. Good for him!
I immediately went to Philippians when I heard that – putting it behind you so you can move forward. My FAVORITE passage:
Common English Bible (CEB)
12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.
Are we not all called to be like these Olympian athletes and pursue that greater goal, that upward call in Christ Jesus? Are we not asked . . . no commanded . . . to pursue that goal, to train toward that goal every day, working toward perfection in Christ? We do this not at the gym, in a pool, or on a field or track, but we do this through spiritual training. We strive toward that goal through reading Scripture, prayer, meditation, worship, and growing through study and conversation with other Christians. Our training NEVER ends, but is ongoing and purposeful!
So, yea, we will stumble, we will fail to make the podium at times. But, we put that behind us and strive forward, reaching for Christ and that upward call we have. I have this image in my mind of us reaching for Christ and then Christ grabbing hold of us for the sake of the Kingdom! I LOVE THAT IMAGE AND PASSAGE! Can you tell? 😉
Reach onward and upward, my friends! Never stop training for the race and reaching for the goal!