My eldest daughter arrived for her swimming lesson last week and was transfixed by the TV screen next to the reception desk. On it were lanes of swimmers racing in the Commonwealth Games.

After a comment about wanting to be that fast she went into her lesson and passed her next badge! Early days – she is only four!

But whenever these great sporting events come around I am always struck by the vast and life consuming dedication that it has taken to rise to that level. The support, the hours training, the harsh reality of coming second, third and fourth, the choice of lifestyle and the channelling of energy into that one area of life. Truly amazing!

But I am led to also reflect that we all make choices about where we dedicate our energy. Is the focus of what we do and have ourselves or others? I am guessing if you’re anything like me then the line moves from day-to-day as life journeys on.

But just as those athletes make their choice we too should be mindful of the choices we make about our dedication, energy and commitment – for they will make a mark on our families communities and world that outlives anything we gather, buy or possess.

In the New Testament the analogy of running a race as a believer is a great one. Of seeing the goal, the finish line, the prize and setting your sights there.

I have no doubt at all that I will never win a medal at the commonwealth games or Olympics. However their amazing example can be a nudge to us all to consider our lives and the goals we aim for.

The Rev Carole R. Marsden

Minister in the South Lakes Group of United Reformed Churches