Summary: A series based on the winter games
Well it almost upon us, only 5 more days and the eyes of the world will be focused on Salt Lake City Utah. As most of you know I am not a sports fan, never have been never will be. I know that never is a long time but trust me on this one. But even for a non sports fan like me there is mystique that wraps itself around the Olympics. And even though I’m not glued to the set during the games I do find myself, gasp watching sports and almost enjoying it. There is something about cheering your country on to victory that seems to take it from simple recreation to patriotism. I probably experienced that at it’s highest level when we were living overseas. And I remember one not so flattering incident when I had the youth group out bowling and the bowling alley was telecasting the winter Olympics on the TV sets over the lanes and so between my turns to bowl I was watching the women’s speed skating and the Canadian was in the lead and lost her footing or skating on the corner, slid out of control and lost the race. In response I booted a rubber garbage can, and realized that everyone was looking at me. To which I smiled and sat down, rather embarrassed because it was so out of character for me.
As we read through the Letters of the New Testament we soon discover that Paul was either an athlete or a sports fan because one of the most common analogies that he uses for our Christian life is that of a race or a competition. And while the concept of the luge and hockey would probably be lost on Paul the concept of the competition and the race is still valid.
The Race Begins With A Desire. At some point in every competitors life came the moment when they realized that they wanted to compete in the Olympics. Perhaps they had begun competing locally, and then regionally. Eventually they went on to compete in the provincial arena and then nationally. And somewhere along the line they began to think, “I could represent Canada someday. I could be in the Olympics.”
And that was when the dream began. Maybe at that point they could close their eyes and visualize themselves on the Podium, they could hear O Canada being played and could see the Maple Leaf going up the pole. But it was more then simply a dream. I’m convinced that a lot more people dream of what could be then actual have the desire to see that dream become a reality. You understand what I’m saying, right? There could very well be a better hockey player then Wayne Gretzky, and every morning he gets up and puts on a suit and goes to his law firm or sits in the House of Commons or sells stocks. But whatever he does it isn’t playing Hockey. Because even though they had the talent and maybe even the dream they didn’t have the desire. They didn’t wake up each day thinking about nothing but hockey, they didn’t sleep it, eat it, dream it.
Those who will compete in the Olympics want it and want it so bad that they can taste it. They know what it’s like to bend their heads to accept the Gold because they’ve already done it a million times in their mind. Bob Richards Olympic Pole Vaulting Champion summed it up when he said “I won it, at least five million times. Men who were stronger, bigger and faster than I was could have done it, but they never picked up a pole, and never made the feeble effort to pick their legs off the ground and get over the bar.” Now we all know that Bob Richards didn’t win the Gold five million times or even the silver or bronze. Well at least not where we could see. But he won in his mind.
Everything that we will ever accomplish in this life begins with a desire to see it a reality. Whether it’s your family or career or your relationship with God it all begins with a desire. Cher said If you really want something you can figure out how to make it happen. The difference between the winners and the losers in this life isn’t the amount of talent they have. I enjoy Cher’s singing but I’m sure there are better singers then her. Born Cherilyn Sarkisian and raised by a mom who had been married eight times, she was dirt poor so what was it that turn Cherilyn into Cher? Because her desire was to be a star and that’s what she became.
We are told that inside every person is a God Shaped vacuum. Annie Sullivan tells about teaching Helen Keller and one day she signed into her hand, “Helen, I’ve come today to tell you about God - the One who created us.” And Helen responded, “Good, I’ve been thinking about God for some time!” What was it that caused this child who had been blind and deaf since she was 19 months old to think of God? We are spiritual beings and humanity has always sought to fill that void with something. That’s why believers of whatever ilk will always outnumber atheists and agnostics. Psalm 14:1 Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” Maybe it can be summed up best by George Bernard Shaw who said “I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.”