I look forward to the Olympics, every four years, the very best athletes in the world gather to compete and determine just who will be recognized as the very best. And for me, It doesn’t matter if it’s the winter or summer games, as I can find plenty to watch in either. I love the pageantry, I love the tradition, and I love to watch the competition, which is capped off with the ceremony where the very best get medals of gold, silver, or bronze. It’s the pinnacle of achievement.
But what does it take to become an Olympian? If you watch the olympics you might get a glimpse into the lives on some key athletes, but even these vignettes don’t really give you a true idea of just what it takes. What we see in the Olympic Games is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s well known that most of an iceberg remains unseen underwater – a whopping 90 percent. So, what you see on the surface of the ocean is a very small portion of that iceberg. While watching the games we see the successes, and the heartbreak of the losses and injuries that can and do happen to a world-class athlete played out right before our eyes. We celebrate with the victors, and we sympathize with those who give it their all. We rally behind those who have faced real trials. And we marvel when new records are established.
What you don’t see is the hours, weeks, months, years of truly hard, hard work, frustrations, and in many cases physical injuries. They have a desire to achieve the best, to be the pinnacle of their sport, and they actively pursue their goal regardless of obstacles or criticism. They live, work, and dream about their goal with all that they have, and they don’t take their eyes off of the prize. These athletes sacrifice so much of the life that you and I take for granted to achieve their dream of going to the Olympics. And, whether they win a medal or not, they demonstrate what it means to stay the course.
They teach us that our view of instant gratification is not what it really takes to succeed. Most of us will move on if we don’t see the desired results in the matter of a few days, weeks, or even months. We don’t learn what it means to grow, develop “roots” and be resilient. Like so many others, I have found over the course of my life that I can start anything out fairly well, within reason, but it’s in the long-run that I find out just what I am made of. For me to become like one of those star olympians, I must stay the course, I must dig in deep, and dedicate myself to the ultimate goal. In my desire for my relationship with God, I must dig into the Word, rely on the Holy Spirit, remain in communication via prayer. For me, it’s not a medal, but it’s this statement “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from my Lord and Savior – that’s my ultimate reward.