The Olympics and the Pursuit of Excellence
The 24th Winter Olympiad starts today, Feb. 7, 2014. This year in Sochi, Russia, 2,871 athletes from 87 nations will be competing. Seven of those countries will be competing for the first time: Dominica, Zimbabwe, Malta, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga and East Timor. We wish them all well.
These athletes come together to try to be the best in the world in their sports. And we watch them to be inspired by their effort and determination.
Early in the history of the modern Olympics, an official motto was chosen—in Latin, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger).
This motto represents the pursuit of excellence, to seek to do one’s very best. That pursuit is a major motivation behind the Olympic Games, and it has more to do with you in your life than you may think.
The official Olympic website says this about the motto:
“These three words encourage the athlete to give his or her best during competition.
“To better understand the motto, we can compare it with the Olympic creed: The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.
“Together, the Olympic motto and the creed represent an ideal that Coubertin [the founder of the modern Olympic games] believed in and promoted as an important life lesson that could be gained from participation in sport and the Olympic Games: that giving one’s best and striving for personal excellence was a worthwhile goal.
“It is a lesson [says the Olympic Committee] that can still be applied equally today, not just to athletes but to each one of us.”
So the Olympics are to inspire not only athletes, but everyone, you and me included, to do our best at everything we do in life.
Did you know that’s one of the reasons why we’re here on earth to begin with—to learn to recognize and pursue excellence. It’s true. The Bible tells us it’s one of the reasons God gives us this life.
Philippians 1:10 says God wants us to have discernment so we can recognize and approve of excellence.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us that whatever we have to do, we should do it with all our might, to the very best of our ability.
Our Creator is a God of excellence, and He put the capacity for excellence in us for whatever we have to do: school, work, our family life, friendships, talents we develop, sports we practice, and especially in our relationship with God.
When we seek excellence, the highest achievement and quality, we’re learning to resemble the One who made us and who wants us to be like Him.
First Corinthians 10:31 states that everything we do, we should do to the glory of God; and that requires excellence.
So as you enjoy the games, as you’re inspired by the excellence of the athletes—remember, the Olympics are meant to inspire us all to seek excellence in all we do throughout our life. And remember, it’s a reason God put you here on earth.
Let the games begin.
For Life, Hope & Truth, I’m Joel Meeker.