Grace and Peace to you.
These days Olympic athletes are vying for gold medals, which only the very best will get. Although I’m not really into sports, I love watching people do things—almost anything—really, really well. Doing something excellently gives a dimension of beauty to it that makes it a joy to behold.
Sometimes new Olympic events are added, but some things you can never turn into a competition. It’s too bad there aren’t more gold medals anyway, some way of saying, “That was splendid!” I know a woman who was abused as a child—terribly—but she turned out OK. It took a lot of therapy, bad turns, good friends and self-discipline, but here she is with no bitterness, fear or self-loathing, and a lot of tenderness and wisdom. She ought to get a gold medal.
A friend of mine is exceedingly good at paying attention, listening with a deep, compassionate heart. There’s no medal for that. A kid in my church asks the best questions in the world. She should at least be in the running for a bronze. Someone can stop in perfect wonder at the shape and glory of a cloud. Another is always honestly encouraging. I know someone who can cry at the drop of a hat. There’s an old guy I know who’s almost always grumpy and cynical, but he’s 94 and he keeps going. Give the guy a medal. A newborn baby just lies there. Eats a little, poops and sleeps. Doesn’t even smile yet. And you can see the gold medal shining in her parent’s eyes.
Ephesians 4 says to “live a life worthy of your calling.” It says God gives each of us different gifts for building up the Body of Christ. We all contribute something to the community. You life’s work is to find out what your calling is, what your own gifts are. There are an infinite number of “Olympic events.”
And there are an infinite number of gold medals. “Each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” Christ’s gift is infinite. God’s grace is a gold medal for everyone, not for an outstanding accomplishment, not for being better than others, but just for being ourselves.
Discover what is is to be yourself, to live out the gifts God gives you. There’s no competition; nobody in the world can do it like you. Nobody. There won’t be a medal you can hang in your trophy case. But it will be beautiful, and a joy to behold. And whatever it is to be you, just to be you, know that it gives God that great smile of the coach whose favorite athlete has just won the gold.
July 30, 2012