Michael Phelps. Photo used by Creative Common License

The Buegler family has spent a lot of time in the last week watching the Olympics.  It’s fun to watch it together and talk about the different events.  (Olympic Race Walking?  That’s really an event?)

I’ve been struck by the incredible attention to detail.  The angle at which a swimmer’s hand enters the water can make a difference in a swimmer’s total time, of several hundredths of a second.  And of we course, we know that a few hundredths of a second can make a difference between a gold medal, and going home with nothing.

These swimmers aim for nothing short of perfection.  And the same thing is true of gymnastics, cycling, running, and all of the other Olympic sports.  I suppose even Olympic Race Walking.

Perfection.  What an amazing, and elusive goal.

What would it be like if I could achieve perfection in something?  What if I could be the perfect preacher…or the perfect prayer…or the perfect father, or husband.

Whenever I think of what it would take to become perfect in any of these things, my eyes kind of glaze over.  There’s no way.  There aren’t enough hours in my day, or skill within me to be able to be perfect at anything, by my own effort.

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  – Hebrews 12:2

Where do we place our trust?  If I were an Olympic swimmer, I’d place my trust in my coach, in my years of training and in my own abilities.  Of course, this is never trust that I’ll need to place.  When I swim, I move through the water like a mack truck with a blown tire.

But my faith…that’s a totally different thing.  For people of faith, our perfection is not found in what we do (where we’ll always fall short) but rather in who we are.  Our perfection is found in our identity.  Our perfection is found in our relationship with Jesus.

It was refreshing to hear, after the Men’s 10 meter synchronized diving competition, David Boudia and Steele Johnson, who had just taken the silver medal, were open and honest about their sense of identity.  Johnson said: the fact that I was going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not what the result of this competition is just gave me peace … and it let me enjoy the contest…”

By ourselves, we cannot do it.  We cannot help but fail.  But when we put our trust in Christ, whose death and resurrection, whose love, whose grace makes us perfect, then we can live our lives, confident that we have already crossed the finish line.

We have found, perfection.

God bless!
Pastor Todd


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