“And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” — Job 8:7 (ESV)
The world was introduced to Jordan Stolz at the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, where he competed at only 17 years old, the third-youngest American man to ever do so in the sport of speed skating. What people didn’t know is that almost exactly one year later, Stolz would really come into his own and accomplish something historic at the world championships held in The Netherlands.
In March, Stolz stunned the rest of the field as he became the first man to win three individual gold medals in one edition of the world championships — sweeping the 500 meters, 1,000 meters and 1,500 meters. Perhaps most surprising was the way in which this young man’s dream started: on the frozen pond behind his family home.
In a piece shown during the Olympics, Stolz and his parents explained how it all began when Jordan and his siblings became enthralled with speed skating while watching a Winter Olympics as kids. The next day, they donned skates for the first time and took to the ice (wearing life jackets, of course, to give mom peace of mind!). Very quickly, Jordan’s dreams outgrew the pond and he started in on daily practices at a local rink. With both parents making sacrifices to help Stolz pursue his newfound passion, Jordan now finds himself at the top of the sport at only 18 years old!
His story is a reminder to us all that small beginnings are the seeds of something great. There seems to be a recurring theme throughout history and the Bible with people demonstrating faithfulness and character in something seemingly insignificant, before one day finding themselves in a position of influence and responsibility.
David kept sheep before he became king; Gideon was from the smallest, weakest tribe until God chose him to go and defeat the Midianites; Joseph was in jail before being placed in one of the highest positions in the Egyptian government; and our Lord was born in a stable before giving His own life for the salvation of humanity.
Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) reminds us: “Do not despise these small beginnings.” Sometimes you may think what you’re doing is unseen, menial, humble work that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. You may feel like you’re never noticed for what you do, or there’s no way your dreams could stem from something so insignificant. Yet, all these Biblical examples prove — as does the story of Jordan Stolz — that God delights “to see the work begin.”
It pleases Him to watch us use our gifts, chase our abilities and desires, and not bury the talents He’s placed within us. And no matter how small your start may seem, give it time. Who knows, you might find your own dreams emerging from a backyard pond like Jordan (proverbially speaking).
— Katherine Singer
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