A World Record, a Gold Medal, and God’s Glory

Posted: October 15, 2012 in The High Calling
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In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth…

As you may recall, last week’s reflections focused on the astounding truth of Ephesians 1:12: we exist for the praise of God‘s glory. I had expected to move on from this verse in today’s reflection, but I recently experienced such a marvelous illustration of what it means to live for God’s glory that I just had to share it with you.

This experience came at Laity Lodge, as I was directing a retreat for Olympic coaches. Many of these coaches, who came from several different countries, had been world-class athletes themselves before they were elite coaches. One night at dinner, I sat across from a recently retired swimmer who still holds a world record in a backstroke race. The next day, I had lunch with a woman who had earned a gold medal in the Olympic 800 meters. World record! Gold medal! Talk about glory!

Yet, these athletes and coaches who have received so much human glory gathered for a retreat at Laity Lodge because they were seeking far greater glory, not their glory, but the glory of God. The speaker for the weekend, Tod Bolsinger, reminded us that Christ was glorified, not just in his resurrection and ascension, but also in his death on a cross (see, for example, John 12:23-33). Thus, we share in Christ’s glory, not when we are lauded by the world, but when we offer ourselves in imitation of him, as servants of God and people.

At Laity Lodge, I was greatly encouraged and challenged by the life and witness of athletes and coaches who had received the greatest glory the world has to offer, yet were not satisfied with their own praise. They have devoted their lives to God, seeking to live humbly each day for the praise of his glory. I pray that I might do the same…and you, too.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of what it means to live humbly for the praise of God’s glory, do certain people come to mind? Who in your life has encouraged you, in word and deed, to live for God’s glory?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for those athletes and coaches who have committed their lives to your glory. Thank you for their faithfulness and humility. Thank you for how you are using them in a world that is so caught up in human glory. Help these sisters and brothers to continue to live for the praise of your glory in all they do.

I must confess, Lord, that sometimes I am tempted to live for my own glory. Help me, I pray, to imitate the self-giving humility of Jesus. May I be inspired by the example of those coaches to seek your glory in every facet of my life. Amen.



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