Perhaps many of you have joined me in watching some of the Winter Olympics in recent days. How inspiring it is to see these world-class athletes participating in a variety of events. Who knew short-track speed skating could be so addictive? Who wasn’t in awe of how big Shaun White went in the half-pipe? How do those skaters spin so many times without getting dizzy and passing out? Come on USA Hockey!
I think the thing that makes the Olympic games so compelling for many of us though is the sheer fact that they only happen once every four years! These athletes train, most of them in relative anonymity, for four years, so they can compete in an event that sometimes only lasts for minutes, if not seconds. Your heart breaks for those who crash or fall or simply don’t perform up to their capabilities after such a long training period. But our hearts leap with joy and excitement with those for whom the training and work culminate in the performance of a lifetime.
James 1:22 says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” As important as the periods of “training” in the Christian life are – times of listening and learning and growing – James is quite clear here that all of this training is useless unless it is leading us toward action. Our invitation is to be constantly on the lookout for those “gold-medal” moments when our training can result in action that is pleasing and glorifying to God! While undoubtedly these moments will come more often than once every four years, what a shame it would be miss out on a single one!