Yes, the Winter Olympics are here, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. (Some of you will remember that phrase from ABC’s Wild World of Sports TV show). We love the tension of competition, the art of athleticism, the excitement of triumph, and yes, the anguish of an epic fail. The Olympics bring all that sports competition to an even greater dynamic, being these athletes are the best of the best volleying for the prestigious title of best in the world! It truly is thrilling.
In addition, there is an excitement to cheer on the country of your birth, ancestry, or choice. In these 2018 Olympic Winter games there are over 92 countries represented, with a few making their Winter Olympic debut this year: Ecuador, Eritrea (East Africa), Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Singapore. I hear the Nigerian woman’s bobsled team is one to watch! What countries are you rooting for? Being I have Canadian roots, and Canada certainly shines in the Winter Games, I love to see them do well.
Competing from all these amazing countries are some 2,952 Olympians. They will be competing in events like Bobsledding, Luge, Skeleton (sliding down a twisty-turny course at break-neck speed on a small sled with only a helmet as protection!!), Ice Hockey, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Curling (Go Canada, eh!), Alpine and Freestyle Skiing, Snowboarding, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ski Jumping, and Nordic Combined (ski jumping and cross-country skiing). What is your favorite event?
Whatever the event, these amazing athletes have gone through the rigor of intensive training, sat under the instruction of expert coaches, listened to the input of qualified mentors, spent hours upon hours upon hours of honing their skill. In all of this they demonstrate an Olympic trait we could successfully use to live the life God created us to live. This trait is not some exclusive attribute bestowed on the gifted. This quality is not reserved for the wealthy, though it does come with a cost. This characteristic is not only available to the strong, but does require a personal strength that will at times command an inner power found in the depth of soul. This trait is available to every person and most use it on a regular basis. Some moments and occupations require more of it and it is essential to faith.
Now many of the best athletes will not call this trait by its name, but simply say they made choices, choices to do some things and choices not to do others. Choice is the essence of this trait, the vehicle of this quality. This characteristic could be defined as choice to give up something of value, in other words, to sacrifice. Each athlete at these Olympic games made many sacrifices to get where they are. They made sacrificial choices each day to improve, to get better, to extend beyond. We can make sacrificial choices as well to improve, get better, and extend beyond.
Quite honestly, to be the amazing people God created us to be takes sacrifice. We live in a world and wrapped into our DNA is a tendency to seek personal power over God’s purpose, immediate desire over The Lord’s destiny, and self-focus over the abundant and significant life God has for each of us. It takes sacrifice to choose God’s best and His way of life.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Sacrifice does not just happen. It is a choice of the will, where we give up something to gain something greater. If we want to enjoy the blessing of knowing God more, it’s going to take some sacrifice to read the Bible and attend church. If we want to love our neighbor as Matthew 22:39 says, or help out at church or in our community, to do the good works we were created to do Ephesians 2:10, it will require sacrifice of our time. To be generous as 2 Corinthians 9:7 and Proverbs 11:25 says will take the sacrifice of maybe going with out so we can give. Yet each of these opportunities of sacrifice creates an opportunity for us to become the wonderful people God created us to be. Why not make some sacrificial choices to where you sense the pangs of giving up so you can be who God has created you to be? It could change your life.
Church can be a great opportunity to learn about sacrifice. You might actually enjoy your time and learn a few things. If you do not already have a church where you attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. Our website has all the information you would need www.cypresschurch.net. We would love to connect with you.
Seeking to make some sacrifices along with you,