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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Find Your Greatness: In Knowing Christ

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ. 
Philippians 3:8

 Precision—that is the word which comes to mind to describe the Olympic gymnasts. Ah yes, add beauty and symmetry and balance and daring and innovation. But if one hand slips on the uneven bars, if one foot slides off the balance beam, if one’s alignment is not perfect, if one cannot stick the landing, if a heel steps off the floor mat, precious points are deducted from what promised to be a winning score.

Oh yes, and talk about pressure. Could you not feel how palpable the tension was, from your living room?

We fell in love with Gabby Douglas from afar, as she made history: first American gymnast ever to win both team and individual all-around in the same Olympics; first African-American woman, as well as the first woman of color of any nationality to win the individual all-around. And then she stumbled and became the first all-around not to medal in the individuals. In fact, she placed eighth (last) on the uneven bars and seventh on the balance beam. 

Perfection becomes both the character and the bane of the athlete. How hard they are on themselves; meanwhile, at home, we plebeians are amazed at even the skill of she-who-placed-last. What in the world are the judges counting against them!

But don’t you love it, God doesn’t count our stumbles. His standard for greatness differs from that of the world’s judges. As the apostle Paul said, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. I imagine that would include a gold medal, if he’d been in the Olympics.

At this moment in time, Gabby has two golds, and the distinct privilege of having her picture on the Kellogg’s cornflakes box. More importantly, she knows Jesus: from her Facebook page, “Gotta give God the glory”; from a recent tweet, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me”. Therein lies her greatest greatness.         

Nancy P

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