On the Olympics

A Minister’s Musings………On the Olympics (February 7/18)

On Friday, the Winter Olympics will kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with hundreds of athletes from around the world vying for Olympic gold. Snowboarding, skiing, ice dancing, bobsledding and many, many more winter sports will be on display over the next few days. And we will marvel at the prowess of the athletes and cheer them on.

My deepest sadness when watching the games, however, comes from grief stricken athletes who apologize to their country for failing to medal in a particular competition. How many times have we seen these superbly trained athletes break down and offer profound regret at their “failure.” It is wrenching to watch. And many athletes suffer long months of depression after the games because they didn’t reach their dream of an Olympic gold or silver or bronze medal.

Time to bring some perspective to all of this. This is where coaches and mentors must step to the plate and remind these young athletes that winning or losing at the Olympics is not the measure of a human life. We all have dreams. Some of them come true, while many others do not. The measure of a human life can be summed up in the words of Jesus:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat
or what you will drink….look at the birds of the air; they neither
sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father
feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Matthew 6:25 and 26

While I appreciate the level of competition that the Olympic games brings to the human body, I know, too, that beyond the ability to throw a curling rock “on the button” is the importance of recognizing that we are more than curling rocks. We are indeed beloved children of God, the God who encourages our dreams, but is always there with us when a dream goes unfulfilled, inviting us to build a new dream.