I love the Olympics and just about every world cup tournament of any sport. It is amazing to see men and women compete. Everything they’ve been doing in preparation has been for those few seconds up to more than an hour. Strenuous work, training, injuries, stringent diets, for a few seconds. Many people think winners and losers reveal themselves when the world is watching. That’s not so.
Out Of Sight
What we see is the end product. Usain Bolt’s winning is not when he stands on podiums with gold around his neck. The soccer World Cup is not when the best teams are made. The best is made out of sight. It is the work of early mornings. Countless gym sessions and reps. Eating food they’d rather not eat. Subjecting their bodies and drawing out of themselves what others never will.
It is about individuals humbling themselves under the tutelage of coaches. Coaches often see in athletes more than they can see in themselves. The coach’s role is to bring out the greatness of those they guide. To help them realise more than they aspire and settle for. Every great athlete and team needs a coach.
These athletes receive advice from a myriad of experts and the ‘machinery’ to make them better. No, not better – to help them not only become their best but the best in the world.
All About The Gold
They do all these things because they not only want to win but believe they can. Even those who know that better athletes than them will be at the competition believe they have a shot at the gold. If we were to be honest, no one competes for the sake of it.
Even those who say, “The important thing is that you participate” would prefer to win. Let’s be honest, the ultimate winners’ medal is better than a participation badge. Winning is always best and most favourable.
Some athletes’ motivation is not to lose. It’s not the same as wanting to win. Not the same as the relentless pursuit, unwavering focus in preparation. The gold, the ultimate prize, is what gives purpose to every effort. It makes all the pain, agony and anxiety worth it.
I know we love some sports, but no matter how much we love them, we want to see the teams we support win when the clock runs out. We don’t want their efforts in preparation and all the other painful out of sight work to go to waste.
No one wants all that effort wasted. Every athlete.
The gold, the medal that is, gives purpose to effort. It is what makes everything worth it.
In some ways, this can be an analogy of life. We can have all the pain and joy to an unclear end. The ultimate goal can elude us. Like chasing the wind or grasping a smoke with our hands.
A never-ending game. Imagine a race without a finish line. A game in which either competing team never knew who won. Our lives can be like that of an athlete who runs with everything he or she is but with no finish line.
You might feel like that. Like an athlete giving everything they can, yet it’s not enough. In the end, why and how does all of this matter? What is all the effort for? Maybe you’re like the team that’s playing in order not to lose, instead of the ultimate prize. There is more to life and it is within reach.
…I came so you can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of – Jesus (John 10:10 MSG)
Jesus took on all the pain, strife that we were supposed to so that we got what we never deserved. We have the opportunity to live a life of purpose; to win at life, because He chose to lose His for us. We’d like to invite you to explore more.