In 1980, on the world’s biggest stage, Eric Heiden won five gold medals in speed skating. He not only won five gold medals, but he set five world records as well! After the competition, at the height of his fame, Eric had a chance to “cash in” on his hard work and glory of the moment. He could
have signed endorsement deals worth millions of dollars. But Eric Heiden knew there was something “Beyond the Gold” that was worth much more to him than money. The disciplines he had practiced in preparation for his historical moment would serve him in different ways than just making money. Eric Heiden stands in a small crowd of people who know that the journey is as important as the destination.
Eric Heiden epitomized the quote from the coach of the Jamaican bobsled team in the movie Cool Runnings:
“A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.”
We as Christians need to stand in the same crowd as Eric Heiden. We need to realize that the journey is as important as the destination. We need to remember that the disciplines of the Christian life bring about a sweet journey with our Creator as we move toward our destination – eternal life with Jesus Christ.
In our lives away from sports we need the same type of disciplines that top athletes have used in order to be successful in what they wanted to accomplish. God, in His wisdom, gave us the Bible as a guide and His Spirit as a teacher so that we can find the inspiration and faith to build these disciplines into our lives.
Striving for a gold medal is a lofty goal. But not everyone who tries for the gold wins one. In fact, the Apostle Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 9:24-25, “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.”
Paul says to live your life as though you would win. Then the disciplines you have built into your life, in the attempt to serve God successfully, will serve you throughout your whole life.
The disciplines which make an athlete successful, applied in our daily lives, are the valuable things which lie “Beyond the Gold.”
The “Beyond the Gold” series looks at five key disciplines: teamwork, perseverance, respect, sacrifice and strategy. Utilizing five Bible stories, as well as five anecdotal sports stories and various other teaching methods, these disciplines will be illustrated to the students in a way that will make them applicable to their lives. Training or practicing certain disciplines in sports is equivalent to training or practicing disciplines in our faith. Both make the person stronger in the areas they practice those disciplines.
Each child who will hear these lessons has a need to develop these disciplines in their physical life, as well as their spiritual life. They need to understand that life is about the journey and not just the destination. Through music, role modeling, teaching, kinesthetic learning, object lessons and the written Word, the Christian child will be given guidance from God’s Word in how to build these disciplines into their life.
The non-Christian child will be challenged and shown how trusting God with their life will bring help in the production and maintenance of these disciplines and will produce a life that will be abundant, fruitful and fulfilling.
We pray that as you read and live the lessons in your preparation for teaching, God will give you insights on how to share your own applications of these concepts. We also pray that you live daily in a way that will find you enjoying the journey that lies “Beyond the Gold.”