“I’m going for gold!” Reporters had asked the young Porto Rican about her Olympic expectations in women’s tennis. With number one seeded Serena Williams in the field, her optimistic answer caused amusement. In her brief carrier she had won only one insignificant tournament and now she was on the biggest stage of all. She’d be lucky to not come in last! Undaunted, young Monica Puig beat one opponent after the other, finally reaching the gold medal match. Still, no one gave her a chance. Her opponent was the world’s second ranked player. Besides, in all of history, no man or woman from her country ever won gold. It was hopeless! At least, that’s what everyone else thought. Why bother to show up for the match, but she did! And what a shock! With her tennis, she won the gold, then, with her tears of joy on the podium she won the hearts of the world.

We’ve watched many other winning gold, this past week. Hussein Bolt won an unprecedented third consecutive title in the men’s hundred yard dash. Michael Phelps increased his record total of Olympic gold medals. The U.S. women repeated as winners of the team gymnastics title.

It took a lot to win for these to win gold! First, they needed burning and unquenchable desire! Night and day, years on end, they thought and dreamed of winning gold. Next, they practiced extreme self-discipline, eating right foods, getting their rest, avoiding vices, even sacrificing time with family and friends in the drive to win. They sought out the best coaches and trainers. They worked hard, devoting countless hours and days to the pursuit of their goal.

Christians should have this same commitment, striving for our prize. I Cor. 9:25 mentioned the Olympics, almost 2000 years ago. Then, they awarded crowns to winners, rather than medals. Paul points out the Christian’s crown will far outlast any given at the Games. How you and I should want that crown! Refuse to lose! Dream! Work! Sacrifice! Like Monica Puig, never be satisfied just to be in the game, or even win bronze or silver. Go for the gold!

— Monty Huffman