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Olympic Spirit: Giving God the Glory

by Christina Stolaas

The Olympic spirit is still undoubtedly in the air. The display of athleticism, dedication, and athletic heart screamed so loudly from the tv screen these past several weeks that it it provoked our hearts with overwhelming pride. Our elite athletes sacrificed much to get to the games and our country has stood proudly in support. We cheered with them. Hoped with them. Believed in them.

Then, when the unbelievable dream of Olympic gold happened, we rejoiced with them! In the London 2012 games, young sixteen year old gymnast Gabby Douglas surprised the world with a breakout performance that earned her the gold medal in the all around gymnast competition. Throughout her interviews during the Olympic competition she spoke frequently of her faith in God and of the comfort the bible was to her during her rigorous training with the intense pressures of competition.

Immediately following her gold medal performance, she made a statement that will forever be recognized as one of the most outspoken and humble moments of sports history,

“I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me.”

As a teen this young champion has recognized that God is the source of our gifts and talents. With all the hard work she put in to get to the games (including actually leaving her parents home to train exclusively under a coach at a distance), she had every understandable right to be proud, arrogant, and to relish in her victory with an “I earned this” attitude. Instead, the first words of her mouth praised her Savior and, dare I say, accomplished a sweet sense of “making Him famous!”

As I watched her performance and the moments after I thought of a verse that has been most influential as I grow in my faith and in my unique calling from God:

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Very few of us are called to be elite athletes, much less Olympic champions. Most of us will never have an achievement in our lifetime that brings the fame, honor or noteworthiness of gold medals. However, God has given us each a unique set of talents, passions, and abilities. Whether you are a student, parent, young, old, or somewhere in-between, the call on your life is the same and the concept is so beautifully freeing, “Whatever YOU do…”

Whether God has you sitting in an office, serving food at a restaurant, greeting customers at a store, making coffee as barista, or learning in the classroom—it can all be done for Him. No task too mundane, no job too stationary or of non-importance. As a Christian God wants to consume all of us. Every talent, ability and passion you are uniquely crafted with has a purpose in His kingdom. Thank Him for your individuality and use it to bring glory to God. You have a calling that no one else on this earth can fulfill, walk in it with enthusiasm and serve God with all of your being.

How does Gabby’s story inspire you use your life to give glory to the one who created you?

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