Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pruning, Productivity & Olympic Success

A Word of Hope
Jamie Work
March 17, 2010

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit" (John 15:2)
Twenty-nine-year-old Olympian Erin Pac was a heptathlon athlete at Springfield College in Massachusetts. The heptathlon is a track and field event which includes seven events - javelin throw, hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, sprint, and an 800-meter race. It is definitely NOT an athletic event for the faint of heart.

Neither is bobsledding. Like any athlete, Pac dreamed of one day competing in the track and field, or maybe even gymnastics. One thing she did not expect to compete in was bobsledding. But in 2002, she was invited to the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, New York to push a bobsled. Erin said, "I never watched a bobsled run in my life before I tried out for it." But she soon found that she not only enjoyed the challenge, but that she is pretty good at it.

She just missed making the 2006 Olympic Team when she was competing as a brakeman, but she was the favorite this year as a bobsled driver hurtling downhill at 90 miles per hour in what looks like a fiberglass missile, in the two-woman sled, USA II. She and her bobsledding partner, earned the Bronze Medal with a a time of 3 minutes, 33:13 seconds in four runs down Whistler Mountain.

Both Erin and her teammate Elana are Christians. But the life lesson all of us can learn from Erin's perseverance and success in the winter sport of bobsledding is that when we make ourselves available, fruit can be borne in our lives in unexpected places. Erin earned an Olympic medal in a sport she did not know until after her 21st birthday... but she wasn't afraid to try.

Jesus said that the spiritual fruit you and I will bear will be a result of His pruning our lives. In other words, new growth, and heartier fruit, will come in places where we have learned some difficult, and sometimes painful, lessons (pruning isn't for the faint of heart). Are you willing to go to that new place the Lord is challenging you toward? There's no telling what fruit awaits you there.

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