Back in August, I was thinking about something as Michael Phelps was winding down his utter domination of the Olympics over the course of his career. He retired after winning a small child’s weight worth of gold medals. What does this outstanding athlete ever hope to accomplish again, after 2012? I’m sure he will have gobs of endorsement opportunities, mounds of charitable foundations he could contribute to, and a rich family life to enjoy. I don’t ask out of admiration or a negative view of Phelps. It was just a curiosity that popped into my head.
At the end of the day, in a lonely moment, what ultimately defines Phelps? What gives him true meaning in the face of obscurity that each human being possesses in 100 years time? If we are lucky to be an historical footnote, usually we still don’t matter to more than a handful of people outside of our immediate family and ancestors.
This is the “crisis of being” that each person must stare down. We all need to think about this. It keeps us humble. It reminds us that there is a bigger picture than our small corner of the world. This also should give meaning to our existence. We only have one shot at this life, people! Let’s make it count.
Know what I’m saying?
Maybe you have some gold medals to hang around your neck. Or maybe you are consistently doing a good job at taking care of people. Regardless of if we mop floors for a living or diagnose illnesses, we each have a lifetime of opportunity to build the Kingdom of God.
Don’t let it go to waste.
X out of this post and go write someone an encouraging note. Offer forgiveness to someone you’ve been holding that from. Bring joy somehow to someone out of the blue, someone who wouldn’t expect it from you.
We get to experience a real gold medal moment one day when our God and King will look at us and we get to hear, “Well done, dude.”*
*OK, OK, the LORD Almighty probably won’t say the word, “dude.” You got me.