by David Phelps
"Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." - Mother Teresa
One evening during the Olympics, my wife, Charlotte, and my daughter, Monica, were watching the Women's Gymnastics. At one point, Monica went into her room and returned wearing her bathing suit. She announced that she was an "Olympic girl," and proceeded to prance and jump around in front of the television.
It's easy to understand why she was affected that way by watching the gymnasts; their graceful, powerful performances impress me too. However, Monica was more than simply impressed -- she was inspired: To do what they did. To be like them. We frequently see people who impress us; occasionally, though, we see someone who inspires us. Whatever they do, we are motivated to do the same. Whatever they are, we are prompted to be the same. Whenever we see them being their best, it inspires us to be our best. Each of them, in turn, was inspired by someone else; at some time, each of them was the "Olympic girl" or boy, seeing someone else who was being his or her best.
Christ did the same for the early disciples. "And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes." (Mk. 1:22 RSV). He inspired them to be like him, and model their lives after his. Peter was motivated to walk on water and although he failed, he and John went on to perform healings and other miracles. He became the inspiration for others (Acts 3).
Christ's power to inspire is undiminished today. We are called to be our best, in our living and in our witnessing. When others see us in our role as Christ's Olympians, they can be inspired by the image of Christ they see in us.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." (1 Cor. 9:24-25 RSV.)