The Olympics are always a fascinating time. We watch men and women who have dedicated their lives to their sport giving their all for coveted prizes – an Olympic medal, a dream come true, national pride.
I was interested to learn about the double amputee from South Africa who gets his chance to race against unimpaired athletes. Likewise, I enjoyed watching the gymnasts demonstrate their balance and skill. To say that the work, commitment, and dedication required to become an Olympian is significant is probably an understatement. It involves more than halfhearted training, a few hours here and there. Many devote their lives to their sport, letting their world revolve around this single passion. Even the most naturally gifted sportsman must be constantly focused on the goal of the Olympic gold to even have a chance.
The Book of Mormon prophet Amulek taught: “…if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.” This phrase, “improve our time” has resonated with me over the years. It is both literal and figurative: train consistently so you can run faster, but also improve the way you use your time, for it makes you into who you will become eternally.
It gives us cause to ask ourselves the questions: would I be pleased with a list of goals and desires that had been derived from the way I spend my time? How can I become what I really want to be?
As the athlete becomes an Olympian through persistent training and the help of his support team, we as God’s children become like Him in the same way. He gave us a training ground (mortality), a support team (the Church, prophets, families), and even a manual (the scriptures). If we are committed and diligent, we will eventually reach our goal. Unlike the Olympian, who may miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if he temporarily loses focus, through Jesus Christ’s atonement, all of us can win the prize if we will accept His grace and do His will.
Isn’t that amazing?