Thursday, August 19

Beyond Gold

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. --1st Peter 1:6-7

Paul Hamm, American gymnast, believed he had fallen out of contention for Olympic gold. He thought that his score was marred beyond repair when he suffered a devastating fall, nearly colliding with a judge. As he settled into the final event of the rotation, he found a renewed determination. Gold was no longer the goal. Instead he simply wanted to compete to the best of his athletic ability.

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Our internal strength becomes the driving force when we are faced with difficult circumstances. It is our faith that pushes us beyond our normal limits and enables us to do extraordinary things. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and unlike anything external, it will not perish even in the midst of heated trials.

If we know the benefits of a strong faith, then why do we strive to obtain material things? What lasting glory can be had by anything the world offers? Precious metals become tarnished, trends go out of style, and even some friendships will fall by the wayside. We will never be praised for mundane accumulation.

If it is praise and recognition that we seek, then we must look beyond our earthly confines. We need to grow in faith and spiritual maturity so that we are left standing strong when all that is of this world has passed away. When Christ returns in his glory, he will not ask us to show him our trophy collections; nor will he quiz us about our bank accounts. He will ask us to show him how we stood firm when things were difficult. He will ask if we have been faithful.

Let us stop focusing on achieving the world's gold. Rather, let us move through life with the desire to compete to the best of our spiritual abilities. Who knows--maybe God will give us a glint of gold in our eyes somewhere along the way.

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Incidentally, Paul Hamm went on to win the gold medal in the all-around competition--the first gold for the United States in 100 years in the area of men's gymnastics.

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