The Olympics

I, like most Americans, have been glued to the television, watching as hundreds of the top athletes compete for the gold “across the pond”.  I stay awake until after midnight so I can see who won the gold in the Women’s all-around gymnastics competition.  I sit on the edge of my seat to see if Michael Phelps will make history and win that 19th, 20th 21st medal.

One thing I’ve noticed in common with all of the winning competitors…they all seem to say the same phrase in the post competition interview.  “All the training, all the hard work, all of the sacrifice finally paid off”.

My son is playing baseball.  Yesterday, he had his first practice in “fall ball”.  As we watched, he hit 6 out of 9 balls that were pitched to him.  We were sooooo proud!!  When we got into the car after practice, we told him “all that hard work is paying off”.

Across the world, we are witnessing the athletes hard work paying off.  Except in one case.  China.  Badminton.  I’m sure you’ve heard about the scandal with this competition.  The Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian teams were disqualified after being caught deliberately trying to lose, so they would be better placed during a different phase of the competition.

In America, badminton is not the most popular sport.  It ranks right there with underwater basket weaving, but in China, it’s huge!  Think football in the midwest.  Think Nascar in the south.  This is an obviously huge blow to China and that sport, well, at least in China.

When I was starting my first “real” job in high school, I remember my dad sending me off with some words of wisdom, “Make them a good hand today”.   At 16, that stuck with me.  Even though I was working for minimum wage at McDonald’s, he wanted me to do my best.  Even if I was sweeping the lobby, cleaning the bathrooms, cooking the burgers or waiting on customers in the drive through, I was to do my best.  Doesn’t seem like a huge deal does it??  How many of you remember who served you at McDonald’s 3 weeks ago?  Do you remember if they were courteous?  Do you remember how you treated them?

For me, though, it mattered.  I wanted to represent to the world who I was.  How I was raised.  This shaped me in how I worked in other jobs throughout my teen years and through my young adulthood.

It reminds me of a scripture.  Colossians 3:17 says, “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.”

See, it does matter!  When we do our best, when we think how our actions will affect those around us, we are giving glory to God.

Enter Gabby Douglas.  Maybe you’ve heard of her.  She only helped the USA Women’s gymnastics team win gold and then went on to win the all-around gold individual competition.  What did she say in that post competition interview??  “I give all the glory to God.  It’s kind of a win-win situation.  The glory goes up to Him, and all the blessings fall down on me”.

Imagine, when we give glory to God, we are blessed!

But how do we bring this into our every day lives???  We’re not all Olympians.  Most of us won’t get formal recognition for what we accomplish in life.  I love the song by Steven Curtis Chapman.  Maybe since I’m a stay at home mom, I can relate to the first verse:

You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today.

Matching up socks and sweeping up lost Cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip and color on your lipsand head out the door

And while I may not know you I bet I know you wonder sometimes does it matter at all?

We’ll let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you to do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face

And tell the story of grace with every move that you make

And every little thing you do

So, when you wonder if all this hard work, dedication, sacrifice, training is worth it…just remember Colossians 3:17, Gabby Douglas and the Chinese Badminton players.  You may not be an Olympic athlete, but I’m sure in someone’s eyes, you are a champion.

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