Thursday, August 14, 2008
Pastor's Perspective - Go for Gold!
Have you been watching the Olympics?
Admittedly the Summer Games are my favorite. Growing up in humid central Florida as a very active child and teen, I can relate to running, throwing, swimming, wrestling and a plethora of other things kids do competitively. The Winter Games are entertaining, but Tampa has never been synonymous with luging and curling! As a matter of fact, the only time I saw ice there was in 1979 during a freak "dusting" that got us Kiefer kids out of one day of school.
More than the actual competition is my admiration for the preparation each athlete has endured to be in Beijing this summer. The countless hours in the pool, on the track, in the weight room before the sun even rose each day. The attention to form, fitness, nutrition and overall discipline. The ability to subject oneself to the harshest circumstances to refine and build year after year for literally ten seconds on a sprint track or three minutes in a pool. The internal drive to push yourself beyond normal physiological limits to become optimal. To trust your relay mates to train and execute as vigorously as you. The Olympics are about dreams becoming realities, hard work becoming victory, discipline and tests becoming medal gold.
The Apostle Paul toward the end of his journey shared many familiar Olympic images about his life and ministry. He shared that his race was coming to an end and that he was anticipating a glorious award ceremony. Likewise he shared that everyone is called to life's race, and that spiritual discipline was necessary to finish strong and ultimately win - that tests make us stronger.
In the midst of his many daunting tests Job said - "..When he (God) has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10b). James augments this idea with a challenge - "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance" (James 1:2-3).
Friends, you and I are both called to an amazing race called life. Our course can oftentimes takes us through harsh and unanticipated circumstances. Admittedly, our race is not for the faint of heart. Our race is not a sprint, but a marathon. Our race is about team, not individualism. Our course is not for those who start well, but for those who finish well. Our race has a distance known only to the race coordinator. Our race has a common destination - the One who issues rewards!
My prayer for you is that you will come forth as gold. See you on the medal stand!
I love you!