Proverbs 3: 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
For many years Kenya has been the darling country of the world when it comes to producing world class middle and distance runners. However, in 2012 the world learned that steroid use amongst Kenyan athletes was fairly commonplace, and 2016 brought a fresh round of steroid allegations and athletes being banned. David Rudisha, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and world record holder in the 800m, was interviewed about this problem in his country, which had seen 40 of its athletes banned in the previous three years. Rudisha admitted: “It’s really sad, it’s really unfortunate that this is happening because Kenya previously has a really good reputation. And for many years Kenya has been doing well on the athletics stage, winning championships without this problem…it’s really tough. Because these young athletes who are desperate to make money, to win races, they end up being fools and getting into these drugs.” [i]
Rudisha felt that a desperate desire for money had caused some athletes to become fools. His statement is backed up by today’s Proverb. 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. (Proverb 3: 13-14).
There are many shiny things that surround athletes every day: the lustre of fame and money, the seduction of pleasure; and the world offers many shortcuts to gain these things and more. God has supplied many good things for his children, but to enjoy the blessings of those things they must come in his timing. If we think of those Kenyan runners, it is possible that some of the banned runners were on track to athletic success without the drug help, and now they may have lost that opportunity forever. For a Christian, perhaps God had another plan, outside of running for their life, but they were forcing their agenda on God and in the end foolishly destroying their reputation, and as Rudisha says, their country’s reputation.
If we desire anything, we need to yearn for wisdom. Especially as a young athlete, you need to crave after wisdom because of the immense temptations you face and the very difficult decisions you contemplate every day. The wonderful thing is that God does not hide wisdom from us, rather he will gladly provide it to those who ask for it. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
I have had the pleasure of mentoring a number of young men
and I have continually seen two stories unfold – on one hand I have seen those
who have chosen to run their own path, avoid real godly input into their lives,
real accountability, and behind them lays a sad path of destruction. On the other hand, I have seen young men who
relished input, correction, and even rebuke, all for a
desire to gain wisdom, and while their lives are also filled with difficulties,
I have seen their wisdom grow and I’ve seen God bless them in his timing. The latter have seen that wisdom has infinitely
greater return than gold.
Are you pursuing wisdom? Have you
sought out godly mentors? Have you
chosen wisely when surrounding yourself with people who speak into your life,
those who affect who you are? Cry out to
God for wisdom, and begin making sacrifices today, foregoing the shiny things
and pursue the long-term return.