Sunday, February 01, 2009

What Would Make You Give Away Your Medal?

This an absolutely fascinating story - it was just confirmed that, at the Beijing Olympics, American sprinter, Shawn Crawford gave up his silver medal to Churandy Martina, a sprinter from Netherlands Antilles. Martina had initially finished second but was disqualified for a lane violation. Shawn Crawford received the silver medal but later gave the medal away to Martina. Get this - he didn't have to do it, no one coerced him, no one would think less of him if he kept the medal. After all, "rules are rules", right?

Let's map this to what it might look like in your life, or mine. Would you give up the lavish year end bonus to a co-worker because you truly thought he deserved it more? How about highlighting the contributions of one of your office "rivals", knowing that it means that he'll get most of the credit for the project? That's crazy talk, for most of us.

What would make us forsake personal gain, to bless someone else? Perhaps just the sense of "doing the right thing" would be enough, for some. But frankly, giving up an Olympic medal isn't something I would do unless I could gain a greater reward. What reward would be greater than getting that coveted promotion or your personal "olympic medal"?

David offers an answer in Psalm 16:5 - "the LORD is my chosen portion and my cup" and he follows it up with this statement - "the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places". David is boldly declaring that God is the treasure of his heart. And, by the way, in case you were wondering, he considers himself fortunate that it worked out that way.

I don't know what truly motivated Shawn Crawford but I know this - when we have Christ, we have the best that this world has ever seen. We have a relationship with the Eternal God, sins forgiven, peace in the deep recesses of our hearts. Giving up our personal medals become a lot easier when we have something much better. It'll also make the world stop and ask us why.

15 comments:

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

It is an interesting story! I would love to know more about the young man and what motivated him!

It is a good story for the rest of us too, for this truly does reflect what our lives should look like - always being able to walk above worldly success, keeping our eyes focused on the author and finisher of our faith, realizing that the "reward" for giving away is far greater that what we have given. Gosh, can you imagine - one day we not only will be with Him but we will be like Him??

Thanks for your kind words on the blog - and your encouragement and prayers. Indeed, I do wait for Him to reveal His will for my life and the next step forward.

Red Letter Believers said...

I just dont know. I clutch the things that I have 'earned' with such fervor. I want them. I need them. They are the spoils of victory. And to give them away?

God make me willing!
david
www.redletterbelievers.com

Every Square Inch said...

Susan - thanks for adding your perspective. Isn't that the essence of our faith - believing that the good God has promised us is better than the best this world has to offer.

David - exactly. The point is we would never give them away to gain nothing...but holy self interest would lead us to give away our "medals" to gain a greater reWARD

Marcus Goodyear said...

The one thing I cling to more than anything... being listened to. I can listen to others all day long--but I have to trust that they will listen to me as well. If I don't trust them, it becomes very hard for me to listen.

I don't know if that is a medal or not, but it's what came to mind. Good post.

Every Square Inch said...

Marcus - thanks for stopping by. I like being listened to as well...I need to grow in doing more of the listening

Red Letter Believers said...

Hey, ESQ... Thanks for the inspiration!

http://redletterbelievers.blogspot.com/2009/02/giving-away-your-glory.html

David Rupert
Red Letter Believers

Ted M. Gossard said...

Good story. And good words from you as well. Do we really count all things as loss and mere rubbish in order that we might gain Christ? We go south, or else the true north.

Every Square Inch said...

David - thanks for picking up my post and extending the conversation.

Ted - how true

Anna M Blanch said...

A well written post! An athlete who wants to be the best doesn't always care about the accolades, especially if he doesn't think he earned what he received. I admire the gesture! I have always connected with "triumph of the spirit" stories because of the way in which they evoke the "numinous" for me, that God created us. Thankyou for bringing the story alive with great prose!

Andy C said...

A great lesson in what you can get by giving. He is the true winner here, and we can all learn from his selfless act from the heart.

Audra Krell said...

Great post, I did not know this story. It got me thinking, so kudos to you on the writing! I'm getting better about giving up my "things". I truly feel deeply grateful for the endurance to run the race set before me, but sometimes the earthly prize means more.

Every Square Inch said...

Anna M - thanks for taking the time to comment and for your kind words. Yes - you're right - these special stories touch us because as you say - it reminds us of Him who is transcendent and that He created us in His image

Andy C - thanks. Glad you enjoyed the story

Audra - I know exactly what you mean. Giving up earthly things is hard for me too. I guess the point of the post is that the only way it gets easier is if we regularly catch a glimpse of Christ.

Anonymous said...

i reckon the key to self-sacrifice is really knowing who i am. if i live behind a mask, it is easy to think that i am generous when all i am doing really is getting others to like and accept me. Our motives will never be totally pure; we'll always see through a glass darkly. But still, the more we ask Jesus to reveal who we are, the more we can genuinely give ourselves away.

Sam Van Eman said...

Definitely a good story, but your application questions and comments gave it even more value.

Every Square Inch said...

Anonymous - Thanks for your thoughts. Question for you - is the key to know ourselves more or to know God more? I know both are inter-related but I just wonder...

Sam - thanks for your kind comment...I love how these types of stories bring us into a broader, more significant discussion.