"Feel di riddim, feel di rhyme, get on up, it's Jamaica Ski Team Time!"
Wait, what!? Yes you read that right, JAMAICA SKI TEAM.
Michael Williams makes up the Jamaican ski team, and last week he attempted to qualify for the giant slalom and slalom races in the Alpine World Ski Championships.
Maybe you've heard this story before, or something similar. Back in 1988, a Jamaican Bobsled Team showed up to the Calgary Games, which led to the famous "Cool Runnings" movie. The movie is what inspired Michael Williams to become a ski racer. He tuned in to watch the Jamaican bobsled team and got hooked on skiing as he watched the rest of the Winter Olympics. But then life happened, and he played American football growing up, attended the University of Western Ontario, and then played professionally in Europe as quarterback and receiver.
Finally at age 43, Michael decided he wanted to pursue the sport he fell in love with back in 1988. At first he could only "snowplow" his way down the mountain, but it didn't take him long to figure it out and he competed in qualifying at the 2013 world skiing championship. Now he's 45 and last week he competed in the Alpine World Ski Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Here's what I love about Michael's story: when typical professional skiers are retiring and ending their careers, he's beginning his. When most spend their whole lives on the slopes, he's just stepping onto them. It kind of makes you want to think, "Isn't he a little late?" But that's the thing with 'Cool Runnings', which means, "Peace be the journey."
Michael's journey is inspiring to skiers, but it should be inspiring to believers in Jesus as well. I had lunch with a group last week, and ended up sitting next to someone I didn't know. She was a principal of a school in downtown Chicago. I asked her what brought her to the lunch we were attending, and she went on to tell me about her "faith." She wasn't exactly sure how to describe it or what words to use, but she eventually did tell me she was searching for God. She didn't even know exactly who or what God was, but that she was sure she had faith. She didn't grow up going to church, nor had read the Bible until recently. She was a smart young professional quickly climbing the ladder in her career, had graduated from one of the top universities in the country, had been the key-note speaker at multiple education conferences, but she couldn't accurately describe her faith that she believed in so much. She started to get frustrated, and I stopped her right there and said,
"Don't let anyone ever tell you that you're too far behind in your faith journey."
We're all on a journey when it comes to our faith, whether we’ve believed in Jesus for 20 years or two minutes. And often times, when people begin their faith journey, they feel they’re too far behind. They feel like it’s too late for them to start, because they're too old, too young, they don’t know enough about God, they haven’t read the Bible, and/or they aren't a 'good enough of a person'. But here’s some truth: we'll never know enough about God, we’ll never understand enough about the Bible, and we’ll definitely never be ‘good enough.’
You’re never too late to start with God. And you’re never too late to start-over with God. If you are continually seeking God, you are right where you need to be. Keep learning, keep trying, and keep growing. Nothing you did or have done or are late to do has earned you salvation. It is by God's grace that we are saved. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too far behind or too late to believe in that. It's all about the journey, and its more important THAT you begin than it is WHEN you begin. Don't let life happen; begin your journey now.
Peace be the journey.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9