Athlete, Winning is Not Everything

Winning is Not Everything

19  "And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.”

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NLT)

One of the highlights of the Rio Olympics for me was Pernille Blume of Denmark winning the gold medal in the women’s 50 meter freestyle swim. The announcers did not even mention her name when they talked about medal contenders before the race.

After the 50 meter dash, she touched the wall, came out of the water and looked up the times with a straight face. Then her face changed. She was shocked.

Her unexpectedness was priceless. She appeared to say, “I won? I won?” It was a question, not a statement. It was astonishment, not a proclamation.

She appeared humbled. It was refreshing to see someone unassuming win a gold medal because winners often boast and strut.

Even though Blume apparently did not think she would win the gold medal, she was still competing and enjoying her sport. Winning appeared to be a bonus to her.

Is winning everything to you or a bonus?

Do you enjoy your sport simply because God gave you limbs and eyes to play it? Are you content competing and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and movements of your sport? Or do you need to win to be thankful and content?

I missed out on a lot of joy when I was angered by my performance and my team’s performance. As I look back, I wish I would have enjoyed sports for the simple reasons of being in a uniform and feeling the ball in my hand.

Athlete, you will not get to carry a bag or gear up much longer. You will not put on a uniform and be on the field or court with your friends many more times. You will graduate and everyone will move on.

Life is short. College is shorter still.

Solomon was one of the wisest people who ever lived. He said, “To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life – this is indeed a gift from God.”

That means enjoy your sport, your abilities and your teammates because they are God’s gifts to you. Not only is your “lot” a gift from God, the ability to enjoy it is too.

Athlete, gratitude breeds contentment. Write down a few things you are thankful for and take a few minutes to thank God for them.

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