Many of you have probably been watching the Olympics. I often enjoy watching these sports. I enjoy cheering on people from my country. I like cheering for the underdog. I like watching in awe as some of these athletes perform feats that almost appear superhuman. I am always interested in seeing the reaction of the athletes after the conclusion of a competition.
You can learn a lot about a person based on how they react to the final scores. What their reaction is to what they place tells you a lot about a person. There was one young man who received a silver medal in the high jump. When asked how he felt about his great win for silver he replied, “I wish it was gold.”
One the one hand I need to admire the man’s honesty. There are some athletes who would just fake it and say they are thrilled to receive the silver. His brutally honest answer tells me something about him. It tells me he is always looking for something more. What he did was success, but it was not enough success. His response is echoed throughout our culture. We just need a little bit more to be happy. Once we get a little bit more we will be satisfied. We never end up being very satisfied.
What gives you purpose? What makes you wake up in the morning? Is it being the best athlete? Is it being the best parent or spouse? Is it to make more money? What are you telling yourself right now you need in order to be truly happy? Is happiness something that can be obtained?
We think happiness implies comfortable living. We think it means we have an easy life. If we reach the pinnacle of our goals then we will have a smooth life from that point on. Phelps is retiring from swimming. He has shattered records including being the most decorated Olympian of all time. Many people are now calling him the greatest athlete in the world. All the interviews keep asking him the same question, “What are you going to do now?” He has conquered his world, but now there is so much life left to live. What is a man like that supposed to do? Has he found happiness through swimming?
Let’s say you reach your goals in life. What then? What happens after that? How do you go on living your life? There is certainly plenty more life left to live. Some people live their lives to make money in order to live off of and make even more money. There are never enough riches in this world to fulfill a heart of greed. Riches on this earth exist in a finite number. Eventually we run out of precious materials. We think we are filling our emptiness with these things but all it does is expand that emptiness.
What if we could strive for something that actually satisfies? We say we will live our life after we receive something or reach a goal. What if you could live the best of life right now? The truth is that you can. Jesus said in John 10 that the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, but Jesus came so that we might have an abundant life. We can actually live life to the fullest, but it does not come about the way we think it will. This abundant life does not come by possessions and success in careers. It does not come by winning a gold medal. It does not come by being the best parent or spouse you can be. These are all fine things, but they are not the main thing. Abundant life is found in Christ alone.
The runner thinks he finds success in running to the finish line when really he finds fulfillment in running to a finish line, but really it is by running to the cross. The businessman thinks he will obtain happiness through wealth, but will really find happiness in using his wealth to be a servant for God. Some think they will find purpose in being a spouse or a parent, but really they will be the best spouse or parent they can be by finding their purpose in Christ.
We can chase goals and finish lines. We can win medals and possess wealth. We can be a loving spouse or parents. We can reach everything we set out to reach, but what then? Someday everyone needs to face the fact that they are not living the full life. Are you ready to face that fact today?