It’s the second week of the Summer Olympics. The TV set here is about to throw in the towel and cry “Uncle!” from overuse. But we can’t help it. This is a sports loving family. Usually a golf loving family. But there’s just something about swimmers and gymnists that draws all of us like a moth to the light in the livingroom. We’re transfixed by the efforts of athletes who know what it means to sacrifice.
Sacrifice. I looked it up on dictionary.com just to make sure I knew what the definition is. You’d think I already know. But to be honest, sacrifice isn’t my default character quality. I’m an encourager and a pretty good listener, but sacrificial? Not.
I went to the experts on the world wide web and they gave me twelve possible explanations. They’re not any better at narrowing it down than I am. But in the end, the one I liked best, is a baseball term. To cause the advance of a base runner by a sacrifice.
For the good of the team effort, a player gives up what he wants so another player can move on. In the end, it’s a win-win. It’s just not a me-me.
I’m having a little trouble with that “me-me” part. In my defense, hormones aren’t making things any easier. I wish they had an App for that. Anyway, this morning I went to the Player’s Handbook for a little encouragement from my Coach. I really like this Guy. He never puts me down or puts me in time out. He just puts up with me. I flipped open the leather bound edition and read a few good words from another teammate by the name of Nahum. Appropriate, coming from a player whose name means comfort.
Right on the first page of his section of my Handbook, chapter one, paragraph seven, he wrote:
The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows . . .”
It just stopped right there in the middle of the sentence—He knows. I guess I was supposed to turn the page to read the rest, but those two words said it all. I didn’t need to know what else he wrote.
The race is a team effort. But every athlete still jumps his own hurdle, swims his own race, or balances alone on the beam. And when the stars don’t align or hormones attack or life is unfair, the loneliness of each player’s race can overwhelm and blur his vision. It can feel like his needs are insignificant in the greater picture. Or that they are unimportant and unseen.
But they’re not.
Because He knows.
(Photo courtesy of SouthEastern Star, Flickr.com)