Olympic Inspiration…it’s not all about winning.


There are so many inspiring stories about the athletes who train for and compete in the Olympics.  Both the Summer and the Winter Olympics are grueling and highly competitive.  Yet the back stories on the people who make it to this world stage are both inspiring and amazing.  


For example in 1988 a Jamaican Bobsled team competed in the winter Olympics.  The last time I checked Jamaica does not get snow…nor does it reach temperatures cold enough to have enough ice for Bob Sled training.  Yet, a team showed up at the 1988 Winter Olympics to compete.  They didn’t even own Bob sleds and had to borrow them from other competing teams in order to participate in the event.  They competed for pride and for the pure sportsmanship of the games.  Their inspiring story even ended up being made into a movie in 1993 and was again an inspiration to many who saw it.  

When we think of the Olympics the imagery of winning gold medals come to mind, and the glory involved for the country who dominates a certain sport.  But for any country who even competes in these events there is national pride and honor involved.  Above and beyond the glory of winning an event, there is the joy of even being there to excel in excellence.


Another inspiring story comes to mind when I think of the Olympics, it is the story of Canadian Lawrence Lemieux.  He was a Summer Olympian in Sailing.  During the 1988 Summer Olympic games in Seoul South Korea as he was in the heat of his sailing event he saw a Singaporean boat capsize injuring the two sailors on board.  He quickly altered course of his boat and immediately went to their rescue.  In that moment Lawrence Lemieux didn’t have gold medals in his eyes, he had concern for others.  Because of his bravery and concern those two lives were saved.  Later, after finally completing the race (which he placed 22nd because of altering course to save lives) he was awarded second place in that heat.  He didn’t go on to win the event (he ultimately placed 11th) but despite not winning gold, he won the hearts of many around the world for his heroic act of bravery.  At the podium for the awards ceremony in the Sailing category, though Lemieux didn’t win gold he was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the president of the International Olympic Committee.   

The idea behind our current Olympics embodies comradery, endurance, hard work, sportsmanship, team work and so many more adjectives.  

I cringe when some individuals on this stage display poor sportsmanship and throw fits because they didn’t win an event.  I think those athletes miss the point.  Yes everyone is to compete to the best of their abilities but the Olympics is not only about winning.  It is about striving for excellence and coming together peacefully as nations from around the world under one cause. 


If only we didn’t have to wait every four years to come together.  

If only we didn’t have to leave the arena or the Olympic village where regardless of ethnicity or difference by and large the athletes live for two weeks in harmony.  If only…

To quote John Lennon, “You might say I’m a dreamer, but you know I’m not the only one.”  

For just a second I wish our nations, all nations could put aside differences and wars and blood shed to see the bigger picture.  For just a second I wish we as human beings would wake up and see what hatred and violence truly does and the long term effects of these divides.  For just a second I wish we heard more stories of heroism and love displayed not just at the Olympics but in every corner of the world.  

We have to tear down these walls that divide us if we’re going to survive each other.  Jesus once said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven...” (Matt 5:43-45)

I know injustice exists in this world.  I know that we don’t live in a Mary Poppins world where everything is easily solved with “just a spoon full of sugar”, but I believe despite of how others treat us, we (who are are Christ-followers) ought to rise above it and love despite its lack of reciprocation.  

The Olympics give me hope and reminds me that one day the King of Heaven will make all things new and restore creation to its intended state…in the mean time I don’t have to wait for that to happen, I can live as a child of the Father in Heaven now.  I can rise above the hate and display what love, Godly love looks like.


Faith – A Rules Changer


My daughter is five years old, and already she is very clever.  If you ever cross her, I don’t envy your position because she is the most cunning strategist that I know at the age of five.  

It all began with a game.  Actually it started when she wanted something that her twin brother had, and she was determined to have it and get it her way.  So she played a game with him.  It was a kicking game, and she made up the rules right then and there.  In a very commanding voice she told her brother, “If I kick you I win, and if you kick me I win and I will win the mask“.   -the mask was what she wanted from her brother.  She had devised a game with rules in place in which the outcomes would benefit her either way.  At no point in this game would her twin brother, who is taller and quicker than she is, have an edge or even a chance to win.  

My daughter’s cleverness made me laugh.  In part I was proud of her for being quick on her feet, yet surprised at the lengths at which she would go just to obtain what she wanted most.  She had devised a strategy in which she could outsmart her brother even though she knew that she was no match for his physicality.  

Sometimes life is kind of like that isn’t it?  We are greatly outmatched and the thing(s) that we want so badly are just beyond our reach.  We want our families to be closer, our health or the health of loved ones/friends to be better, our financial situation more profitable, our jobs more enjoyable, love and respect that goes unfulfilled.  Life can sometimes be like that cruel master which dangles a carrot in from of a donkey just to get it to work and be productive.  We want so desperately to change the rules, to make a life more to our advantage…to win.  But what do we really desire to win?  Will we truly be happy?  Can we really change the rules in life?  


How does faith play into this thing called life?  Is faith important?  The simple answer is YES, absolutely!  Despite how much we might plan for every contingency and strategize for every positive outcome, life doesn’t play according to our rules.  Life can sometimes be unpredictable and we can find ourselves grossly out of winning options.  But faith isn’t some wild card or last resort.  The key is the source behind our faith.  If our source is simply our own powers and motivations we will eventually face disappointment and discouragement.  But if our source is God, in whom made all things and our faith takes us to the understanding that we are indeed loved and important to the Creator then regardless of what happens to us we can have this immeasurable unending faith.  


 Faith is a rules changer.  Faith can propel us from self-sufficiency to something much more sustainable and everlasting…if we allow it to grow in us.  Are you willing to let this kind of everlasting faith take root in you?  Give it a try and perhaps you will begin to see life in a whole new perspective.  

-Just a thought.  

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