A few weeks ago, our family attended the Southern California Special Olympics held on the campus of Cal State Long Beach University. The event was amazing with athletes of all ages gathered for this annual event. We spent time watching the track and field, basketball, and gymnastics.
One touching moment occurred as we watched the gymnastics competition. It was standing room only as four different events-floor exercise, balance beam, vault, and horizontal bar competed. We were sitting next to the balance beam when a middle aged woman mounted the beam. With a steely and determined look, she began her routine. She was a bit unsteady at the start but quickly gained her composure and advanced halfway down the beam. As she briefly paused to begin the next major move, she looked out into the audience and saw her family. Her face broke into a huge smile and she happily waved. She then went on to complete her routine to the cheers of the appreciative crowd. Dismounting the beam, she rushed into the audience, embracing her family.
The Special Olympics is a tribute to their competitive spirit and to the families that support them. And this is the message of the Special Olympics. The athletes all have special needs but special is not designating a disability. Special is honoring the spirit and attitude of the athletes. Special is celebrating the gifts and talents that God has bestowed upon them and all of us.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psalms 139:14 (ESV)
All of us are uniquely gifted by God. For these athletes, mere competition and completion of an event is just the beginning. It is using their gifts and talents to the best of their abilities. It is a reminder to me that God expects all of His children to use their gifts in His service. The goal is not the outcome, it is the service. We are special because God made us in His image.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.