The Death Stare

michael-phelps-game-face-large_trans++O98ycFATayOMYZMYchRAhDz60MLShTGSjzQPgXOJ4FcLike many people, I’ve been watching the Olympics this week. I have seen some amazing, and not so amazing physical performances, but my favorite part of the Olympics didn’t happen on a court, a field or in a pool. It happened in a waiting room, and it was awesome!

Michael Phelps is one of, if not the, greatest Olympians of all time. He has enough gold medals to fill the cavities of every child in America. Fort Knox asks Phelps for gold loans. Phelps is amazing! Some guy from South Africa named Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos decided to tug on Superman’s cape and called out Michael Phelps. First of all, this guy has way too many names. Pick a first, middle and last, anything beyond that is just pretentious and makes you look bad. Also, le Clos is not real smart. I mean lightspeed unintelligent. He owes IQ points.

During warm ups in the waiting room, le Clos stood in front of Phelps’ chair, shadowboxing and just trying his best to psyche out Phelps. Le Clos had beaten Phelps in this event in 2012, and instead of letting his swimming do the talking, he chose to act up. Big mistake…

While le Clos was waving his hands like he was trying to land a 747, Phelps sat with his hood pulled forward and looked straight ahead. He sat quietly, scowling like le Clos had kicked his puppy. It was the scowl to end all scowls. I was surprised that le Clos didn’t catch fire just from the friction of the air molecules being disturbed. If le Clos had made eye contact, I am pretty sure that his heart would have stopped. Phelps never said a word, he just sat there, looking like someone stole his lunch.

Then it was time to swim. Like I said, le Clos had beaten Phelps in this event in the 2012 London Olympic games. As they entered the water, I think I saw steam rise up in Phelps’ lane, probably residual heat from the waiting room scowl.

As the race unfolded, Phelps was his usual dominant self. He pulled away and never looked back. You would think that after all the histrionics and gesticulating that le Clos would be a close second. Nope. Okay, maybe he claimed the bronze medal, just edged out by another swimmer. Negative!

No, le Clos came in fourth. Fourth! Fourth place means that you aren’t on the podium. Fourth place means you are watching the medal ceremony from a couch somewhere, just like schlubs like me.

If only Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos had read Romans 12:3 he might have saved himself some embarrassment. It says, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” (Romans 12:3 NLT)

That’s good advice for all of us, and it can be applied in a couple of ways. When my boys started playing sports, I told them, “You don’t have to tell people how good you are. If you are good, they will know.”

More to the point, we need to be honest about our spiritual lives. We need to evaluate ourselves by God’s measuring stick to see where we can grow. It’s great to look back and see how much God has changed your life, just don’t get comfortable. As a Christian, you never get to the point where God is finished with you. You never get to a spot where we have to, or get to, quit growing. Paul said, “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” Philippians 3:13,14 NLT

So keep growing in the Lord. By all means, be happy how much you grown, but keep charging ahead!

Shouting “USA! USA! USA!” all week… Jerry


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