Most Americans were familiar with Ryan Lochte long before the Olympics began in Rio. Now that the Olympics have ended, it will be a long time before the people in Brazil will forget him.
As a member of Team USA, Lochte has been known as one of swimming’s fiercest competitors. Today, however, he is known more for his lapse of judgment and his questionable antics.
Although his behavior has led to a loss of his four major sponsors including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren, Pine Bros Softish Throat Drops, has just signed the 12-time Olympic medalist as a spokesman to advertise their company.
Rider McDowell, CEO of Pine Bros said, “We all make mistakes, but they’re rarely given front page scrutiny . . . I’m confident that Pine Bros fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance.”
As someone who has needed a second chance on more than one occasion, I applaud the decision of Pine Bros, and I’m reminded that God also gives people a second chance. Think about an incident in Jonah’s life and this principle from the Proverbs:
- After Jonah’s gut-wrenching experience, The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you. ~Jonah 3:1-2
- A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. ~Proverbs 28:13
Examine the lives of Jacob, Samson, Peter and Paul, and you’ll discover that God is the God of second chances. He is the God of grace, of mercy, of forgiveness, and the God of beginning again.
As Paul said, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~2 Corinthians 5:17
When many of the Olympic athletes leave Rio, they will begin a new life. Some will leave having achieved their dreams and winning either a gold, silver, or bronze medal; others will leave disappointed with themselves and their poor performance; and, there will be some who leave with a sense of contentment even though they did not win.
Contentment is a unique commodity: Money can’t buy it; poverty doesn’t provide it; and neither winning or losing can guarantee it.
For some people, contentment is hard to find. This is because they’ve never matured beyond the infantile attitude of thinking they’re the center of the universe. They were born wanting more attention, drier diapers, and a bottle that provided a never-ending supply of milk. As they grew older they wanted the fastest car, the shiniest wheels, and the finest leather interior.
The more is better attitude never understands that having the “best” and being “blest” are not one and the same; one may provide fame and fortune, but it’s the content of the other leads to a life of contentment.
The Apostle Paul discovered the secret of contentment: I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. ~Philippians 4:11-12
If you want to live a life of contentment, I suggest that you start by:
- Seeking God’s will. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ. ~Philippians 3:8
- Leaning on God: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~Philippians 4:13
- Trusting God’s promise: The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:7
- Living with an attitude of gratitude: in everything a give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~I Thessalonians 5:18
- Learning to take an eternal perspective on life: Joseph said, You meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose, so he could preserve the lives of many people. ~Genesis 50:20
If, as Paul said, “godliness with contentment is a great gain,” what is a life without godliness and void of contentment?
Team USA hasn’t won a gold medal in women’s Olympic cycling since 1984, but fans thought Mara Abbott was going to end that drought. With a 40 second lead on Sunday, Abbott was positioned to win the gold.
With 200 meters left in the race, Abbott thought her dreams were about to become reality, but the last 150 meters along scenic Copacabana Beach became a nightmare. Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, Sweden’s Emma Johansson and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini had been chasing Abbott for most of the race, and the three of them passed the race-weary Abbott.
When bicyclists think of this race, will they remember Abbott for her effort or for her 4th place finish?
Fortunately, finishing in 1st place is not a prerequisite to pleasing God. In his letter to Timothy, Paul said: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing (I Timothy 4:7-8).
I applaud the effort, discipline, and dedication of Mara Abbott and Team USA; and, I cheer for you as you fight the good fight.