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Wonder and the Olympics: Using Talents

The summer Olympics in Tokyo features talented people from a diverse variety of sports: crowd favorites like gymnastics and swimming, fun but lesser-known sports such as table tennis (ping pong) and fencing, and new Olympic sports such as skateboarding and karate. The Olympic Games showcases the talents of top athletes worldwide. As you watch Olympians using their talents, you can experience awe that inspires you to use our own God-given talents.

In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I tell the story of how the Olympic flame for another summer Olympics (in Atlanta) passed by my office in Alexandria, Virginia. My coworkers and I had carefully made plans to see the Olympic torch relay when it was scheduled reach a path outside our building. However, I neglected to prioritize wonder and opted to keep working until the last minute. By the time I heard the crowd cheer, it was too late for me to see the runner who carried the flame. Wonder had literally passed me by.

Our time and talents are too valuable for us to let them pass us by. We all have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) with distinctive talents. We may or may not be athletically gifted, but all of us have gifts that God placed in us for the purpose of service in some way. 1 Peter 4:10 encourages us that, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Jesus calls us all to make the most of the limited time we have to develop and use our talents. In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus tells a parable that shows the importance of not wasting talents but using them fully.

Think and pray about these questions:

  • What can you do especially well?

  • What do you enjoy doing the most?

  • Which needs in your community can you best help meet?

  • What next steps can you take to start contributing your talents to meet those needs?

Just like Olympians, you can bring joy to the world through your talents. Let the wonder you feel from watching them inspire you to dedicate yourself to your own good work. Train to develop the talents God has given you. Then run the race of faith each day well, by using your talents the best you can. Corinthians 9:24-25 urges: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” You may not win an Olympic medal for your efforts, but you can count on something even greater – God’s blessings – when you do.


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