“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:19-21
He titled his book “Greater Than Gold” because he wanted the world to know that Olympic success isn’t his only aim. It was merely secondary. He knows what it means to chase athletic glory … and fall short. He knows what it means to pursue all the things people say will make you happy … and still lose. But he also knows that knowing God changes things. In fact, it changes everything.
His name? David Boudia. He’s been the face of USA Men’s Diving for more than a decade, and is one of the most recognized athletes in Olympic sports. He has a colorful collection of Olympic, collegiate and professional medals, but, as his book title reminds you, that’s not what he wants you to really know and remember him for. As he put it, he competes for something — for Someone — greater than gold.
David’s testimony is a raw and real one. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything when he shares the struggles he’s had in his past. The addictive behavior, the ego, the depression — he tells about all of it. But he also shares that what he most hopes we’ll see is who God is and what He’s done to change a rebel’s heart. The Gospel proved sufficient to call a wandering heart to God’s side, and David knows that’s the reason he can compete for a higher purpose. Win or lose, David knows the story is the Lord’s, not his.
Since coming to know Christ prior to the 2012 Olympics, during which the world watched him win gold, fans of his sport have seen David honor God in both victory and defeat. He has gone on to mentor many other divers and athletes, and to share his testimony in many settings. And his greatest hope is that the same Gospel that reached him can reach somebody else through his story.
Often, we make athletic or professional achievement of any kind the sole priority, when Jesus proves there is so much more for us beyond that. God offers us everything we’ve ever craved or hoped for in the sacrifice and resurrection of His Son, and makes it clear to us that chasing accolades and hardware here on earth is not all there is. After all, 1 Timothy 6:7 reminds us that we won’t be taking any of those things out of this world anyway when we die. The only thing worth having in this life is a real and active relationship with God Himself.
Look, aiming for excellence and wanting to win championships and medals isn’t bad. But only wanting that is. So what are you competing for? Actually, Whom are you competing for? Are you competing for the equivalent of “gold” in your life, striving after worldly applause and achievement, looking to earthly things to satisfy your need for fulfillment and meaning? Or are you competing for the only One whose pleasure and validation really matters?
— Katherine Singer
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