Great Olympics. Great Britain.

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The fantastic London 2012 Olympics is coming to an end. And what a brilliant spectacle they’ve been!

I know quite a number of people who’ve been to Olympic events and they all tell me about the wonderful atmosphere, excellent venues, good transport links and efficient organisation. The BBC TV coverage has been brilliant. And to top it all Team GB has won a stack full of medals! It’s been a great Olympics.

Many commentators have said that these games have shown Britain at its best. I agree. Our Prime Minister and those in leadership in our nation should be proud of the last few weeks, and be praising our nation for a good job done. In a nation that is often pessimistic and seems to excel at distributing bad news, we have something positive to shout about. Great Britain has been a great Britain.

These great Olympics held in Great Britain have made me think again about ‘greatness’. Jim Collins’ famous book Good to Great comes to mind, describing the need to move from doing well to excelling. So how does that happen? And what it is to be great?

Jesus said ‘whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant’ (Matthew 20:26). which means greatness is measured by service, not status. What if we used that measure for the ‘great’ Olympics, and for our ‘great’ Britain? That kind of greatness is not about position or power or prestige. It’s about how well and faithfully we’ve served. It’s about what we’ve contributed rather than gained. It’s less about what we’ve got for ourselves and more about what others have received.

We often forget this, but this notion of greatness used be fundamental to our nation. It’s why our leader is called the Prime Minister – the top ‘servant’. Because leadership and greatness is about serving. And the person who shows that most fully is Jesus Christ – who ‘did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:28).

All this means that if we want to aim for greatness as a nation, we need to follow Jesus. We need to learn from him and serve like him. If we do that, we’ll be able to hold our head high and better fit the name Great Britain.

2 comments on “Great Olympics. Great Britain.

  1. what amazes me about these Olympics is that team GB has performed better this time around than it has in over 100 years! That is amazing. Makes me wonder how much of winning is psychological and about what you BELIEVE about yourself. If we believe we are the best…how much of that has a part to play? Being American…I come from a place where we unashamedly say “we’re number 1″ or “we are the best in the world”– and sometimes I find that embarrassing…but there is a part of me that also knows that we become what we believe. Great Britain has pulled together and believed for the best…and coming in third for gold medals has proven what a difference that makes.

  2. Really good insight, Lisa. I agree! What we believe about ourselves shapes who we become. It’s about time we Brits began to believe again that we are a ‘great’ nation; that way we’d begin to become one. Identity produces authority. But it also results in humility. Which is why great leaders do more than win. They serve. As do ‘great’ nations. Modelled so beautifully by Christ himself.

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