Going for the Gold

Olympic Medal“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” I Peter 5:4

Can you imagine what it must have been like for those Olympic athletes who stood on that dais in Brazil, after years of hard work and hurt, listening to the strains of their national anthem, their long sought after prizes decorating their necks and knowing that, after all their extraordinary, over the top effort, they were being acknowledged in front of a global audience as being the best of the world’s best in their field? It was particularly impressive to me to hear those three women runners from the United States who took the gold, the silver, and the bronze in their event give glory to God for His faithfulness in carrying them that far.

It has never entered my mind, however, to pursue that kind of competition – and for some very good reasons. I don’t have what it takes – either physically or in terms of discipline and drive. That’s not to say that I have an aversion to getting glory. The roar of the crowds has a lot of appeal.

We live in a time when women are breaking records; making wonderful contributions to the welfare of mankind; forging new frontiers in terms of their careers – like running for President of the United States. But those young runners had it right. Whatever our pursuits and giftedness, we are here on Planet Earth to reflect His glory – not our own.

Some of our work will come with rich rewards in this lifetime; but as someone once said “All glory is fleeting.” World records are broken and the new finds its way to the top of the chart. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about an enduring reward: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever … (II Corinthians 9:24-25) I think that’s what William Ross Wallace had in mind in 1865 when he wrote the poem,

“What Rules the World”

Blessings on the hand of women
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh, no matter where the place;
Would that never storm assailed it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s the tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow –
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world. 147270_282132_1461778643

Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky –
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

While many of us are not rocking cradles, still we have a brief time on earth to go for the gold that will not fade. C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.” How will you bring the life of God’s kingdom to those coming along behind you?

Karen Only