Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

August 23, 2016
Olympic athletes who publicly champion God inspire me to reach out and do more

It warms my heart when Olympic athletes unashamedly proclaim their love, gratitude and devotion to The Most High while under the glare of worldwide media spotlights.

The Savior instructed his followers to share their faith with others.

In Romans we read, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 15:9-11)

Within minutes of winning the gold in what I consider to be the most thrilling swim race of  all time, Simone Manuel immediately proclaimed “All glory to God” when an NBC microphone was thrust in front of her.

The world’s fastest human, Usain Bolt, took a moment to kneel in gratitude on the track after winning the 100 meters. He then quickly returned to his playful antics with the crowd, media and competitors.

Steele Johnson, half of the U.S. men’s gold medal-winning synchronized diving duo, shared his faith and devotion to Jesus Christ in his interview before talking about the pressure and performance of his specialty.

When the humble Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa smashed a 17-year-old Olympic and world record, he prayerfully knelt a few steps later to express his gratitude.

After struggling for two years following the 2012 London Olympics, gold-decorated Michael Phelps found peace within by turning his heart to his Lord and Savior.

Phelps credits Pastor Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” with giving him hope.

There are those who criticize these athletes for showboating and making private matters public when they express their faith.

I am confident these criticisms are of no concern to these athletes, but their comments often push sportscasters, fans and others into zones of uneasiness.

I have yet to see a television, radio, or newspaper reporter ask a follow-up or clarifying question when an athlete declares his or her faith. And I am confident I never will.

The Lord clearly directs members of His restored church on this matter. “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81)

Why is it that for some of us it is so difficult to proclaim our love and devotion to Him who created all and made it possible for us to live forever?

I too often take the path of least resistance, frequently couching my thoughts in the phrase, “Just set a good example.”

If my friends and associates have questions about my beliefs and faith, they can simply ask and I will willingly share my thoughts on the subjects at hand.

But does the Lord expect more of me than that?

I am confident the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Experience has taught me that whenever I step out of my comfortable “If you have questions, just ask” bubble, wonderful things happen and my perceived fears become unfounded. People who are truly interested appreciate sincere thoughts.

I know when I follow that path my faith increases and I trust it helps others to rely more upon the Almighty.

Congratulations to all the Olympic champions, especially those who champion Him who died on Calvary. Keep spreading the good word.

Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.

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