Going for Gold!
The Need for Self-Discipline
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize
So it is fair to say that Team GB did very well in Rio isn’t it! A record haul of medals at an ‘away’ games- 27 Gold, 23 Silver and 17 Bronze (67 in total). A significant result when we consider our team was much smaller for Rio than it was at our home Olympics four years ago- (366 in Rio compared to 542 in London) and remember it isn’t over yet with the Paralympics due to start in September we can anticipate a further haul of medals of all shades.
I watch elite sports men and women across all sports not just Olympic events and am in awe of their ability- I took part in a lot of sport in my school days but could never measure up to the superb athletes and sports men that play and compete at the highest level. I once played cricket against a West Indian Fast bowler who was in the West Indies ‘A’ side (reserves) – I faced three deliveries from him- the first glanced off of my protective helmet, the second glance off of the edge of my bat for four runs and the third removed my off stump….. I knew I was out of my depth and so did he!
When we think about sport at any level we know that some players are better than others and we measure the success of teams by their position in the league or by the trophies that they have won- Some of us support better teams than others; some of us support our team because we always have and not because of outright success- (all the Watford supporters amongst us are nodding about now).
Everyone who competes in a sport you would hope does their very best to win and succeed- even those who were running against Usain Bolt gave it everything even though they knew he was much faster and more likely to win! When we think about our nations medal haul at the Olympics it is sobering to remember that out of our team of 366 over 300 of the team did not win medals- (remember some of our teams/athletes won more than one medal!) Even though the majority of our team did not win any medals they all competed, ran their race, gave it everything to do their best!
When we think about our lives we must be aware that we get ‘one go’ at it- Our lives are not a rehearsal! We have got to give it all we have got because if we don’t do it now we never will! When we think about our relationship with our Father in Heaven it is equally important for us to run our race with perseverance giving it everything! When you look at the training regimes of top athletes it is unbelievable to see that amount of time and commitment it takes to reach the very top level in their sport- commitment, sacrifice and hard work! As well as working hard we also have to train hard just like our elite athletes but train hard to do the tasks that God has set for us- We need to Study his word, spend time praying and waiting on Gods guidance, spreading the gospel, loving our neighbours, loving our enemies and praising him! When we do all these things we should do them gladly- it should be a joy to serve God and not a burden- In Colossians 3:17 we read:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
God calls us to work with a smile…. We all have days where smiling is the last thing on our mind- those are the days when we need to come closer to the Lord and get our smile back. When we learn to trust in God and try our hardest it becomes a habit! I remember when my brother was playing football at professional level- his coach used to say about his training ‘Good Habits Richard; Good habits’. When we do something often enough it simply becomes second nature- if you keep doing it you will keep doing it- commitment, sacrifice and hard work!
Not all of us are going to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics- let’s be honest not many of us will ever have that chance- However each of us has the chance every day to serve God and run towards that ‘Gold Medal’ of eternity in Paradise paid for by the Death of the Lord on the cross!
So this month- Go for Gold; do it for the Lord and do it with a smile!