A Word of Encouragement

Be Happy and Celebrate 

The Olympic season always gives me a sense of excitement.

Every two years, I find myself looking forward to the Olympics. I love hearing those stories of success. I admire the athletes and their amazing feats. Never having been an athlete,  I can sit back and live vicariously through them. And I am happy with that. 

Even early in my life, I  loved reading about athletes who started out with all odds against them,  but they turned it around to win several gold medals. Folks like Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph ….

 So many success stories. All of them in one way or another working to get to the Olympics.

But recently, I’ve wondered, “What really is the purpose for these athletes? Is this really what God intended for their lives? Where does it go from here? After they win the gold; after they begin to fall short at the tender age of 20 or 25, what then?

I wonder,”Does their vision go beyond winning the gold?”

Now, I’m not trying to put down the whole Olympic dream.

Isn’t it wonderful that nations will put away their differences and compete together?

It thrills me that athletes work tirelessly towards their dreams.

I am thrilled that playing games can bring a country together in unity.

It’s a beautiful thing.

I just have to wonder what is left when the cheers stop and their names are removed from the record books to make room for a younger, faster, stronger athlete?

I begin to think of the words of King Solomon who said, “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.”

Like a mist (1)

“Life is fleeting, like a passing mist.

 It is like trying to catch hold of a breath;

All vanishes like a vapor; everything is a great vanity. “

Celebrate

The happiness that an athlete experiences when they stand on that podium to receive a medal and hear their national anthem has to be overwhelming. It certainly was for Ryan Held on the U.S. 400 meter relay.

36fe30f100000578-3728695-image-a-159_1470628470301 There can be no better moment.  But the happiness and pride they experience will eventually fade away leaving them wanting more.

And what if the Gold is never accomplished? As it turned out for the French gymnast who broke his leg on the vault …

36f1e9c900000578-3727174-a_french_gymnast_s_olympics_ended_when_he_severely_injured_his_l-a-25_1470513065812

So where do we find the happiness that stays throughout our lives?

King Solomon said in his proverbs ….

better than gold2

13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,

And the man who gains understanding;

14 For her [wisdom’s] proceeds are better than the profits of silver,

And her gain than fine gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies,

And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.

16 Length of days is in her right hand,

In her left hand riches and honor.

17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

And all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,

And happy are all who retain her.

Proverbs 3:13-24 (NKJV)

True happiness comes in finding wisdom, for wisdom is far better than gold and silver medals. It’s better than rubies and diamonds and all the other fair things we tend to desire.

What are you desiring? What are you hoping for that will bring you happiness?

Is it gold medals? Riches? Success in business? Diamonds? Love?

These things in themselves are good.

But they are fleeting.

They do not last.

Our greatest desire should be in something that will last forever.

Our greatest treasure needs to be in finding wisdom and understanding through God.

Knowing Him must be our greatest desire.

Solomon instructs us about wisdom in the Proverbs …

10 Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding. 9:10

He encourages us to put God first and put all our energy into finding wisdom.

Just as an athlete puts everything into winning, we must put everything into finding wisdom.

what ever you must do

 5   Whatever it takes to gain Wisdom, do it. To gain understanding, do it! Never forget this! Never stray from what I am telling you.

    If you don’t forsake Lady Wisdom, she will protect you. Love her, and she will faithfully take care of you.

    Gaining sound judgment is key, so first things first: go after Lady Wisdom! {chapter 4]

Olympic champion, Eric Liddell put God first in his life. 

A son of missionaries, he felt that he should never train or run a race on Sunday. When he realized that the 100m race (his best race) would be run on Sunday, he began to train for the 400m race instead . Against all the odds, he won the 400m. [You may have seen this story played out in the movie Chariots of Fire. Read the story here.]. He then went on to do what God had called him to do, and that was serving as a missionary to China. He was proud to represent his country in the Olympics, but he was happy in representing his savior in China.

Now let’s return to Solomon …

When he became king, he didn’t ask God for riches or success.

He asked God for wisdom.  And because of that, God gave him riches and success in return.

God will do the same for us.

We should ask God for His wisdom and understanding, too. In James 1:5 it says ..

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking.

James goes on to say in verse 12 …

12 Happy is the person who can hold up under the trials of life. At the right time, he’ll know God’s sweet approval and will be crowned with life. As God has promised, the crown awaits all who love Him.

And how do we hold up under trial? By putting God first. By seeking and knowing him and his commands.

 Solomon looked at life and saw all the meaninglessness. He said he tried all there was to try in life, but it did not make him happy.

What made him happy  was fearing God.

He summed up Ecclesiastes with a great truth that is fit for all of us.

Be HAppyBe happy, and celebrate all of the goodness of youth while you are young. Cultivate a cheerful heart every day you have youth. Go where your heart takes you. Take in the sights. Enjoy, but remember that God will hold us accountable for all that we do. [Chapter 11]

13 And, when all is said and done, here is the last word: worship in reverence the one True God, and keep His commands, for this is what God expects of every person. 14 For God will judge every action—including everything done in secret—whether it be good or evil. [Chapter 12]

I make the same challenge to you today.

Work hard at knowing and serving God. Enjoy your life with whatever it may be that you love. But remember that God is watching and on the final day, your actions will be your judge.

Searching for wisdom;

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Photo credit … acquired through Pixabay.com; modified by GGMandy

Olympia by Gerhard Gellinger; Rio by Stefan Schweihofer; fitness by Darren Constant; fog by Unsplash; Rio 2016 photos from ABC

Linking up with the five minute Friday crew. This week’s prompt is HAPPY…

Oh, by the way, I’ve been post these every week for two years! Find one of my posts in this book coming out soon!

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