Going for Gold

It won’t have escaped your notice that the Olympic Games are currently taking place in Tokyo, and that many of the world’s finest athletes and sportsmen and women have travelled there to try and win medals, thus proving that they are the best at what they do, or at least are the best at that moment in time.


Each entrant has qualified to take part over months and even years before the event by winning in other competitions in their own country and around the world. But how did they begin? Listen to comments made by some of these talented folk and it seems they have dreamed of taking part since early childhood and in some case followed the success of their heroes and tried to emulate them.

A single line from a film I have watched quite recently has stuck with me. “If you dream alone your dream remains a dream.” And it’s so true isn’t it?
How many athletes have made it to the top entirely on their own? Probably none. Let’s think for a moment just how many people might be involved in making it possible for a gymnast, a tennis player or a swimmer to reach the top of their sport.

Parental approval and the support of family and friends come first perhaps with the longterm commitment of fetching and carrying a child to places of learning and tuition. Teachers and trainers encourage and help students to improve their skills, technique and attitude. Physiotherapists, medical advisers and even psychiatrists and psychologists may also play a part preparing, soothing and repairing both body and mind.

Medallists in the games have their moment of glory, and create memories which will last for a lifetime. Their achievements are everything they dreamed of. The team of supporters are rewarded simply in the knowledge that they played a part, however small, in making it happen. It is the team working together which really brings about success, and not just the talent of the competitor, although that must of course be admired. Some of them take part for years before finally securing a medal, whilst others return to defend their titles from previous Olympics. There will be many who return home without having secured a medal, perhaps feeling defeated and saddened, but who at least took part and did their best for themselves and for their country.

The same team playing and team spirit apply in many other walks of life too. I personally had missed, during lockdown, my weekly meetings and rehearsals with my choir. Singing on my own was not nearly as rewarding as being with others and blending our voices in harmony. When we met again a few weeks ago, despite being socially distanced in a large hall, some of us were moved almost to tears at being together again. We all had different parts to sing but bringing them all together made us complete and sounded beautiful.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:12

This tells us that the body is a unit but continues by saying it is made up of many parts, each with its own part to play. While every part works within the unit as it should all is well, but it only takes one small part to malfunction and then the entire body is affected. That might well apply within a sports team, or my choir, or, as most of us will have experienced at some point in our lives, our motor car. I recently took my car to the local garage. It was running really well, but had begun making a noise I couldn’t understand and didn’t like. I was glad I took it in as the brakes needed some attention and now all is well.

And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:28

Here is a list of appointments made in the early church by God himself. Apostles, prophets, teachers, healers, administrators – all with their part to play, and all coming together to make the unit complete. Perhaps the tasks in our church today have changed somewhat. We might add in secretary, treasurer, welfare officer, technical support person, audio or video co-ordinator or even charity administrator. The tasks are numerous and far too many for one person to undertake.
Ephesians 4:11-13 reiterates what is said in the Corinthians passage:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Wow! Can I really play a part in that? Well - no - not on my own, but with your help I might just be a small cog which helps to turn a wheel somewhere and keep things moving in the right direction. As a young Christadelphian I used to beat myself up mentally because I didn’t get involved in Bible mission work, and I had enormous respect for those that did. But I had no desire to visit hot countries, had no language skills and only a simple faith which was enough for me at the time, but probably not sufficient for a preaching role. I accept now that Bible mission work just wasn’t my calling and that perhaps my outreach started much closer to home.
If you dream alone then the dream remains a dream. If you work alone the task can seem daunting and thankless. We need each other, to work as a team, to support each other. It doesn’t matter how small a part we have to play – every little thing counts. Thank you all for being there for me and for so many others who need you. I am humbled by the good works of the people around me and pray that those works continue while the Lord is away. Together we are going for gold; not glory for ourselves or our country, but for our Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ whom we represent in everything we do.


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