There have been
a lot of gold medals handed out over the past few weeks at the Sydney Olympics
for some marvellous performances. People who have run or swum faster, jumped
higher, or scored more than any others. Unfortunately these medals do not
discriminate between those athletes with millions of dollars of resources
behind them over against those whose backgrounds are barely imaginable
in our terms, and whose only training resources wouldn’t even match our
suburban ovals. But I would like to award some medals…
These are just some
of the people who continue without acclaim, not even concerned that this
is not recognised. It is the faithful service to Jesus, for which there
is an ultimate reward in heaven.
To single parents:
whose resources for providing for and caring for their children demand
an enormous level of energy, which is normally provided by two people.
Who through perseverance and grace are able to provide a loving and welcoming
home not only for children, but extend that grace to others.
To those with disabilities:
who manage each day not only to complete the basic tasks which others fly
through, but still maintain a dignity and compassion which many able-bodied
people lack; and who overcome obstacles that would crush most others.
To the “one talent
people”: Remember the parable of the talents? Some people just seem to
be gifted with exceptional levels of natural ability. And there are others
who seem to have picked up their talent from the Reject Shop. But they
still manage to touch more lives, share more love, have more of an impact
in the lives of particular individuals than many of those ten and five
talent people. The level of commitment shown by many one-talent people
put the rest to shame.
To the silent servants:
who undertake menial but essential tasks without fanfare or fuss. Their
quiet willing service maintains the many things which we take for granted.
To those who fight
the good fight of faith in prayer, who spend many hours in prayer, not
for their own interests but to intercede for the ministry of the church,
and in relation to the cause of God’s kingdom. These are the people who
give strength and power to the ministry of the church.
To those whose lives
give power to the witness of their words.
In our society,
acclamation is too often given to people who aren’t the real workers. And
while we have been celebrating some magnificent feats at the Olympics,
we perhaps ought to give some thought to greater feats undertaken quietly
October 1, 2000