As happens every four years in my life, I have been completely absorbed by the Olympics in Rio, which is intriguing, because I am not your typical ‘sports guy’.
My most athletic feats are my ability to ‘disappear’ when any mention of a pick-up game of any sport is mentioned and my uncanny ability to ‘sprint’ out of a conversation when any talk of sports enters way. While I have had my shining sports moments, such as a celebratory pizza party for hitting a foul ball (yes, you did read that right), the taste of such a massive victory was not enough to suck me in to the wide world of sports.
Yet for the last 17 days I have been glued to the Olympics.
During the day over the past two weeks, we’ve left the Olympics on as ‘background noise’ for hours of nearly endless coverage, and in the evenings I’ve found myself on my comfy sofa with a bowl of salty popcorn and a craft soda at my side gazing at the Olympians on the screen.
I don’t know most of the ‘rules’ of each individual sport, much less the Olympians that are actually competing, yet I couldn’t pull myself away from the coverage.
Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz, “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way”, and that is the very thing that entranced me about the Olympics.
I was watching people who were completely sold out for ‘the games’. They lived, breathed, ate, drank and slept what they were doing, every fabric of their essence was about the Olympic Games…and it is captivating to those who watch them.
I could care less about ‘sports’. I am not athletic nor do I get anything out of watching others compete. But what completely engrossed me was watching people who were sold out. People who loved what they did, and were completely about what they did.
It is as if something in us cries out to have that same passion about something, to live for something with such abandon that everything we do and everything we are is ‘commanded’ by that thing.
The question is… do we live that way? Do we live in a way that others look at us and are captivated by our commitment, by our zeal, by our lifestyle and our sacrifice?
I love Matthew 5:14-16.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Are we being that light that people are drawn to? Are we being salt that creates a thirst in others?
If the ardor of a group of passionate Olympians who are all out about the games they live for can take a completely un-athletic goob who was told to ‘take a base’ in tee-ball…how much more should our passion for our Savior engage an unbelieving world.
Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn. (Quote often attributed to J. Wesley)