Recently, as Carrie and I watched the Olympics, I observed that she should pray neither of her kids ever compete in the Games. We both enjoy watching, but she pulls SO hard for our athletes. When a gymnast is on the balance beam or pommel horse, she seems as nervous for them as if the athlete's very life were on the line. When a swimmer or runner is headed down the home stretch to the finish line, she tries--almost physically--to will them to the win. How bad would it be if it were one of our own children in the competition?
Last night, an American swimmer led the entire race, only to lose at the last second when a competitor outreached her to the platform. Carrie was devastated; but we both thought about this young woman, who has trained her entire life for this opportunity, only to miss out on her goal by a fraction of a second. What must that feel like?
In so many ways, that's like life: So many people pour themselves into some all-consuming pursuit, only to fall short of their ultimate goal. Or, just as frustrating, they achieve what they've always dreamed of, only to find it doesn't satisfy. Jeremiah 9:23-24 makes it clear what our "main thing" should be. But why is this so? This Sunday, we'll take a critical look at a very counter-cultural proposition.