The sun shone brilliantly the air was filled with excitement as hundreds of athletes gathered to participate in the 25th annual Triathlon in Christiansted, St. Croix.
As I sat on the boardwalk in my wheelchair watching everything my eyes began focus on different things. When the athletes swam toward shore to finish the first legs of the competition they were already tired, and were thankful to have a little bit of help from two men who were squatting down at the shoreline. When the swimmers were within arms length of the shore, two helpers were ready to link arms with them out of the water so they get onto the next part of the next leg of the competition. As the athletes ran to grab their bikes, the men who had helped them out of the water remained at their post to help other swimmers out of the water.
When I began to watch the spectators I noticed a father with two young daughters, who were dressed in matching shorts and tee-shirts. They were sitting on boardwalk where all the swimmers were getting out of the water. As they patiently waited for a glimpse of their mom, one of them held a sign that t said “GO MOMMY GO!” While the younger girl prepared to wave a brightly decorated sign that said, “WE LOVE YOU!”
The helpers and spectators each played an important role in ensuring the success of the athletes. At times, it’s easy to downplay a supportive role we have in life but the athletes would have lost a lot of time if the helpers would have decided they left their post because they wanted to participate as an athlete. Water stations, medical tent, direction givers at crucial junctions in the race, etc. They not only would have lost time, they may not have been able to complete the race at all.
In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul, talks about how each of us have a significant role in the Body of Christ. At times, we downplay the role we have and want a different one. When we don’t accept and use the gifts we are given, it weakens the entire body. I’ve found that as I’ve accepted the gifts I’ve been given, it brings strength to everyone who is around me. Just as the all the athletes and their support teams worked together to accomplish their goals, Christ has called each of us to contribute our gifts whether we are in a supporting role or in a lead role for the strengthening of the whole body.