Going for the Gold

Posted on August 8, 2016 · Posted in Culture, Shaping Influences

Life is about competition and winning. Or at least it seems that way. The Olympic Games show the drama and stunning capabilities of athletic achievement. But in the end, all eyes are still on the gold.

This fascination with athletic success is a human thing. Tedd Tripp puts it this way:

“That is why we enjoy watching sports on TV. We love to marvel at amazing feats that ordinary mortals cannot accomplish. Whether football, basketball, ice skating or skiing, we love to be dazzled by athleticism.This is uniquely human. There are no diving competitions for penguins in the Antarctic. They dive from massive ice floes, barely breaking the water, and yet no one scores them. At the end of the day there is no award ceremony. A brown bear grabs a salmon from a raging river. No bears line the shores applauding. Little bears don’t idolize Big Brown. They don’t hang posters of him in their dens.”

Humans are driven to obsession by symbols, such as Olympic medals. As you listen to the biographies of the various athletes in these games, this obsession is played out in real life. The lives of entire families are shaped by the quest for gold. Sadly, the gold medal is the best the world has to offer. Gold will not heal the rift in the human heart.

Parents, it is possible for you to be just as taken with the importance of outward
appearance as are the parents of Olympic children. While you might not be
building your lives around the pursuit of a gold medal, it is still possible to
communicate to your children that the symbolic images of the world are the most
valuable things in life. In our modern culture children are displayed, not
protected. Their value is often tied to how they make others feel about them.
Parents live for their children and children live for themselves. In contrast, teaching children the hope of the gospel to address the difficulties of life—shepherding children to live as followers of Christ—should be the highest priority of parenting.

In the end a gold medal or some other symbol of achievement is just that, a symbol. Winning a medal is not a cure for sin. Your children need to see that Christ has defeated the enemy of our souls. His death was not a symbol. It made possible the radical transformation that heals your children’s dark heart. Christ did what cannot be done in our own strength. He has won the gold, he has secured redemption for his children, the only prize that matters. Give your children the reality of Christ.

Enjoy the games and appreciate the amazing accomplishments of those competing. But never lose sight that it is Christ and Christ alone that is worth living for.

The Home Team

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.