Olympic-Sized Reminder

This year the Olympic games has seen an unprecedented number of athletes show up for competition but not compete. Over twenty athletes have tested positive for COVID and gone home. Six polish swimmers arrived only to be told Poland administrators had misunderstood the rules and taken too many athletes. Ten Nigerian athletes were sent home because their administrators had misunderstood the drug testing protocol and did not test the athletes enough. After all the training and careful team selection, these athletes had to go home without competing due to no fault of their own.

I can only imagine the pain.

The women’s gymnastics team and the world-wide audience watching the Olympics were shocked by Simone Biles withdrawing from the team final and individual all-around after getting the “twisties.” She lost her ability to know where she was in the air during gymnastic moves, leaving her vulnerable to serious injury and earning low scores for the team. We wish her a speedy recovery back to great mental health. Again, this was due to no fault of her own.

The Olympics went on without them.

All of these surprises have gotten me thinking. No events were canceled. Once a hole was created where Biles was supposed to compete for the U.S., Sunni Lee and Jade Carey became the two gymnasts to compete for the coveted all-around medal. The Nigerian team was missing from their track events. The six polish swimmers never appeared on a roster. And the athletes who contracted COVID and missed their events changed the competitive landscape for every other competitor in their event.

Others fill in when we don’t show up.

After all the changes, athletes that remained in competition received the medals instead. For instance, Sunni Lee won the gold instead of Biles, who had been the heavy favorite. What does this have to do with Christianity? Sometimes I can get to thinking people need me — my children, husband, friends, and students. But the truth is, if I were to leave earth tomorrow,

The world would go on without me.

God would grant my husband the ability to parent my children, my adult daughters would probably take on a more parental role with our youngest son, and the university would hire another professor.

Would I be missed?

Of course I would be. Like you, each of us is unique and we cannot be replicated, but the world would keep spinning. Under God’s watchful eye, life would go on without us.

We are invited, not needed.

God doesn’t need any of us to see His plans accomplished. Instead he invites us to participate. In so doing, we are giving Him room to use us and He will most assuredly do so! But if we don’t participate,

His plans will be accomplished without us.

Sometimes I can get a little “too big for my britches,” as they say. I can think myself too important, too necessary. I can actually think I am needed by God, the God of Psalm 148.

Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD from the heavens!

Praise him from the skies!

Praise him, all his angels!

Praise him, all the armies of heaven!

Praise him, sun and moon!

Praise him, all you twinkling stars!

Praise him, skies above!

Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!

Let every created thing give praise to the LORD,

for he issued his command, and they came into being.

He set them in place forever and ever.

His decree will never be revoked.

Praise the LORD from the earth,

you creatures of the ocean depths,

fire and hail, snow and clouds,

wind and weather that obey him,

mountains and all hills,

fruit trees and all cedars,

wild animals and all livestock,

small scurrying animals and birds,

kings of the earth and all people,

rulers and judges of the earth,

young men and young women,

old men and children.

Let them all praise the name of the LORD.

For his name is very great;

his glory towers over the earth and heaven!

He has made his people strong,

honoring his faithful ones—

the people of Israel who are close to him.

Praise the LORD!

God doesn’t need me, or you!

The athletes listed did not ask to be removed from their events. As for each of us, however, we can decide not to fully participate in God’s purposes for our lives. You and I can decide to let someone else do the Kingdom work while we live for ourselves. If we don’t show up, someone else will grab the gold. Someone else will live the miracles and reflect His glory.

Because God will leave nothing undone.

Though the world will go on without us, we still need to decide what we are going to do with the time we have here. Are we available for God to use us, or are others going to run the race while we watch?

Picture Explanation: 1-2) My husband and I met 29 years ago in July. We celebrate that first date, this year with my first Korean BBQ dinner. Yum! 3-4) God’s creation sent to me. 5-6) When our family ran a race many years ago, the gun shot to start the race startled my daughter. She was unable to compete, so I carried her. When each of us gets to the end of life and turns around, we will find we made it to the finish line was because He carried us. I know He has carrying me, and I love Him for it.

© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

4 Responses

  1. Hi, Friend. Another awesome post! As I have said before, I love the creative gift that God has given you and how he inspires you to take life’s daily events and to turn them into biblical lessons! It is indeed an amazing privilege and gift that we get to participate in God’s work. We want the “well done good and faithful servant.” I am thinking of C.T. Studd’s quote “Only what is done for Christ will last.”
    I looked it up.
    The website says:
    Charles Thomas Studd, who served as a British missionary to China, penned a famous poem that helps us to consider the only worthy way to use the life God has given to us—for Christ! May God help us to be ever mindful that only what is done for Christ will last. Lord, help us.

    Only One Life
    By C.T. Studd

    Two little lines I heard one day,
    Traveling along life’s busy way;
    Bringing conviction to my heart,
    And from my mind would not depart;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, yes only one,
    Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
    Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
    And stand before His Judgement seat;
    Only one life,’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, the still small voice,
    Gently pleads for a better choice
    Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
    And to God’s holy will to cleave;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, a few brief years,
    Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
    Each with its clays I must fulfill,
    living for self or in His will;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    When this bright world would tempt me sore,
    When Satan would a victory score;
    When self would seek to have its way,
    Then help me Lord with joy to say;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Give me Father, a purpose deep,
    In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
    Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
    Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Oh let my love with fervor burn,
    And from the world now let me turn;
    Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
    Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, yes only one,
    Now let me say, ”Thy will be done”;
    And when at last I’ll hear the call,
    I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

    Love you, Friend!

    1. I had no idea that the famous quote, “ Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” was the last two lines of each stanza of this fabulous poem. The stanza that speaks to me most this morning is, “ Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;”

      Thank you so much for sharing. And thank you for running alongside me. So often, you keep me going. None of us can so this alone.

  2. Your words are so accurate. We are invited, not needed and life will go on without me when God calls me home. Thank you, Laurie, keeping us focused on eternity.

    1. Ah, friend, but while you are living for eternity so beautifully today, your faith is more precious to Him than gold.

      “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

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Planting and Watering

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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