Inspired by Lezak

So I have had Olympic fever all week.¬† I’ve been watching an awful lot of the coverage and I always seem to get addicted when the Olympics roll around.¬† For me, sports have so many applications to real life.¬† That’s why sports movies tend to be so inspirational.

By now you have probably heard of the US Men’s Swim Team’s dramatic victory in the 400 meter freestyle relay.¬† The French team had told the press before the meet that, “We’re going to smash the Americans.¬† That’s what we came to do.”¬† These words were spoken by French swimmer Alain Bernard, who was the current record holder for the 100 meter.¬† He was going to anchor the French team, swimming the last 100 meters of the relay.

Things did not go well for the Amercans…in a relay, they rely on Michael Phelps to get them off to a great start and give them a lead.¬† However, as Phelps completed his part of the relay, the Amercans did not have the lead.¬† In fact, going in the last leg of the race, the Americans were still a length behind the French and it all came down to Jason Lezak…32 years old, against the world record holder Bernard, for 2 lengths of the pool. ¬†

By the time they touched the opposite end and began the last 50 meters, Lezak still had not closed the gap at all.¬† This is the best part…it was at this point that Lezak looked at Bernard to his right and briefly abandoned hope.

“The thought really entered my mind for a split second,” Lezak said. “There’s no way.”

However, as soon as the thought entered, it was wiped away by quite a different perspective…

“I changed,” he said. “I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous. I’m at the Olympic Games, I’m here for the United States of America. I don’t care how bad it hurts, I’m going after it.’

Long story short, Lezak swam the race of his life…gaining on Bernard steadily over the last length of the pool, and at the end barely outtouched him…breaking the world record and giving America the gold.

Over the last year, I am sure the same thoughts entered the minds of many of us.¬† I remember the meeting on Sunday morning where we all had a chance as a church to discuss the proposed purchase of property.¬† For most of us, while we liked the idea, I think we exhibited the same momentary fear that Lezak had.¬† There’s no way.¬† We’re too small.¬† We’ve never given over $5000/month and now we have to give over $8,000.¬† We don’t have what it takes.

However, in spite of our fears we decided to press on, saying¬† “This is ridiculous.¬† We’re doing God’s work here.¬† We don’t care how much it hurts, we’re pressing on by faith.”

In the end, it has been and will continue to be a tremendously rewarding experience.

I’ve posted the video of Lezak’s swim below. ¬†You gotta see it. ¬†I encourage you to thank God today for the opportunity He has given us to be a part of something so special.

Matt Jones

Matt is the lead pastor at Lakeside Church. When he's not "pastoring" in the city, you can find him "pastoring" at Schneiter's Bluff Golf Course.

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