Every year at this time I become completely obsessed with an event called the Winter X Games. This is a competition where snowboarders, skiers, snowmobilers and mono-skiers show off their amazing speed and skill in the snow. This year was incredible as I watched a guy flip a 450 pound snowmobile forward in a front somersault for the first time in competition, as well as seeing Shaun White receive a perfect 100 in the snowboarders superpipe. It was awesome and as I sat glued to my TV for the 4 day event I could not help but admire these crazy athletes that were pushing the boundaries of sports in creative and daring ways.
The whole event was unfortunately overshadowed by the sudden death of Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke who had won 4 gold medals in previous years at the Winter X Games. Sarah also successfully lobbied the Olympic Committee to include superpipe skiing in the 2014 games in Russia. In an old interview, Sarah expressed the fact that she wasn’t competing to get the most medals or money but rather that she just loved to ski.
What an amazing impact we can make with our lives when we find the thing that God has wired us to love to do and we do it with all our heart. We as Christians must be challenged to find what we are passionate about and then do it for God’s glory. People build an incredible legacy, not by striving to build a legacy but by surrendering our will to the sovereign hand of God and allowing Him to use us in whatever way He wants. I am a striver by nature; I always want to do more, to think more and to be more. It is a struggle for me to surrender my will to God’s way. We see this battle in the life of Jeroboam- the first king of Israel.
Jeroboam was a man who received this prophecy from God:
As for you, I will take you and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. 1 Kings 11:37-38 (emphasis added)
Here is a man who should be as famous as David in the Bible; someone to whom God promised an amazing legacy. Yet instead we discover that Jeroboam actually started a legacy of mistrust. It was in the newly formed Northern kingdom of Israel that Jeroboam began his rootless monarchy. Starting with Jeroboam, in the 240 years that Israel remained a nation before captivity there were 19 kings; 7 were assassinated, 5 were killed by God and 1 committed suicide. That means that in approximately the same amount of time that the Unted States has been a nation nearly 70% of the leadership met a tragic end. Can you imagine the instability of such a country? How did Jeroboam move from a promise of incredible legacy to point of despair and destruction? The story is unfortunately one of striving, but not for God. Jeroboam adopts the world’s mentality from his time in Egypt; he builds up his defenses and then creates his own religion. Read the story and it becomes easy to see how Jeroboam lost the legacy that God planned for Him. He began to do things with the mentality of fear that he would lose it all unless he continued striving. His striving destroyed him, when surrendering would have saved him and maybe all of Israel.
So what is the thing that you are striving for which God has called you to surrender? If we don’t choose to surrender, you risk losing all God has promised you. Find what you love to do: crafts, sports, giving, music, studying, fill-in-the-blank, and do it for God. As christians we have the most fun, joyful aspects of this life and the next to celebrate, so find God’s joy in evything you do. I am enthralled with the Winter X Games because the joy and excitement of people like Sarah Burke is infectious. Her legacy is based on what she loved to do, not merely on the medals that came as a result of her passion. I hope my cry is never “Let me be glorified through what I do for you,” but always, “Be glorified in me, God.”