In a few weeks, the entire world will focus on the Sochi Winter Olympics. One of my favorite parts of the Olympic games is the opportunity to hear the stories of dedication, hard work, training, and sacrifice. The winter games also provide the opportunity to celebrate diversity as we watch countries around the world compete in the same sports.
As you gather with your family, here are a few to discuss throughout the games to engage your children:
1. Discuss which winter Olympic sports you would love to try and why. Take a moment and consider how God created each of these athletes specifically for these sports.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV):
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Each one of us was created for a purpose by the workmanship of God. Created with a specific purpose. Each athlete has discovered their unique gift and talent and refined it. What do you think God created you specifically to do?
2. What have you observed about how the Olympic athletes react to winning and losing? Do you think you could keep winning and losing in perspective if you were one of the athletes?
1 Corinthians 9:25 (NIV):
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.
We all compete in something. We compete in school and at work. Have you ever felt like you lost in some form of competition? Take heart, our training and competing is for a much greater purpose. How can you remember to strive for the “crown that will last forever”?
3. If you were an Olympic athlete, what would you do to glorify Christ with the platform you were given?
1 Peter 4:11 (NIV):
If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
Sports figures often receive fame and attention. Some use the spotlight and forum they are given to thank God for the talent He gave them. They may use their fame to speak to large groups about their faith and share the message of salvation. We have that opportunity, too. No matter where you compete, work, or spend a majority of your day, you have a platform. How can you take each opportunity to glorify Christ within your circle of influence?
4. How would you respond if you missed a medal by only a fraction of seconds?
Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV):
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Have you ever come up just short of a goal? When we barely miss our goal, it can be very defeating. Let me encourage you to look back at the training and journey it took to get to that moment. So often in life the “win” isn’t where the real lessons are learned. The journey and the training are where character is built. How can we always remember that our “inheritance is from the Lord” and that our lessons are learned in the journey?
5. What inspires you most about the Olympic games?
Colossians 1:16 (NIV):
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
From celebrating different cultures to stories of hard work and sacrifice, there is so much to be inspired by when it comes to the Olympic games. When it comes to the 2014 Winter Olympics, what draws you in most?
I hope this guide is useful as you look at the Olympic games through the lens of glorifying God. We are each given gifts and talents for the distinct purpose of glorifying our Creator in Heaven. We may not all be Olympic athletes, but we will experience wins and losses throughout life. We will experience opportunities to bring glory to the name of Jesus. May we always go for the gold and upon achieving it, bring glory to His name.
Aaron Conrad is a husband, father, follower of Christ, Tar Heel fan, random tweeter and believer that Love Does!