All Amped Up

This morning when I headed into the kitchen for breakfast, the Today’s show was on and Matt Lauer was commenting on the US Women’s Olympic Soccer Team. He was referring to statements made by Hope Solo, their goalie, that she and the rest of her team were drunk when they last appeared on the Today Show after taking the gold medal in the last Olympics. Furthermore, she was bragging that she was instrumental in sneaking non-athletes into the Olympic Village four years ago; and how much fun it was to get people past the guards who didn’t have any credentials. She was actually proud of what she did…

And now, we the people, are sending her, with the rest of her team, to London for an encore performance. I just can’t take it. While she very well may be the best goalie in the world, it doesn’t justify her behavior and her flagrant violation of the rules. And we are rewarding her. I have even heard newscasters justify her actions by actually stating that when you take these athletes out of their element, they don’t know what to do. What a line… These people are used to competing on the world stage in front of thousands of live fans and they don’t know better than to not drink before appearing on TV?

I’m probably a little amped up for another reason as well. Back in 1970, when I was 17, I spent the summer in southern Germany, which included a stop in Munich. Two years later, when the Olympic Village was invaded and the Israeli hostages were killed, it hit a little close to home for me. I had been to Munich. This year, there has been a call for a moment of remembrance at the Games to recall that horrific event 40 years ago. While I agree that emotions run high and that people would like this moment of remembrance, I can understand opposition to this event at the opening ceremonies. However, I find it insensitive at best that Hope and her teammates are bragging about sneaking people into the Olympic Village, especially when this is the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, as it has been called.

They are not the only Olympians who have exhibited deplorable behavior. Even Michael Phelps was captured in images showing him smoking marijuana back in 2009 after winning all his gold medals. Great example for the kids, don’t you think? And if you are old enough to remember 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos held up their fists in a show of “black power” after both won medals in the 200 meter track event in Mexico City. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) banned them from the Village. The US Committee refused to remove them, so the IOC threatened to expel the entire US Track Team – Smith and Carlos were eventually expelled.

Needless to say, the world elevates the status of these athletes who fare well on the international stage – just like so many people worship pro football players or others who have arrived at the pinnacle of their respective careers. But what we don’t hear about is how their physical prowess is really a gift from God; and it is a rare thing when we hear about honoring God with their gifts. While all this may seem fine on the surface, the truth of the matter is that God created each of us with certain skills and gifts. And we are expected to use those things for the advancement of the kingdom of God.

While there may be nothing wrong in excelling in the Olympics or any other world stage, with success comes the mandatory requirement to set a good example for others who are following in our steps – that means that we shouldn’t brag about breaking the rules…

And we should give the glory to God. Sooner or later, God will lose His patience if we continue to honor ourselves rather than Him. The Scripture is quite clear on this point. InĀ 1 Kings 11:9, we are told, “The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” It’s not beyond the realm of reason that God could get angry with each of us as well.

My encouragement this evening is to let you know that while God may be proud of your accomplishments on His behalf, He does expect you to honor Him in the process. And we can do that – my prayer is that you will remember that the great things that you accomplish are the direct result of the gifts, passion and style that God has endowed you with. And that means that He has great plans for you. Just make it more about Him than about you. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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