Olympic swimming is incredibly exciting to watch. Such as watching the young Missy Franklin come from behind to win the gold and seeing if Michael Phelps still has some speed left in him. All of this swimming excitement has made some people (myself included) desire to jump in the pool and swim as fast as possible, just for the fun it. One man took these excited feelings a bit too far.
A 34-year-old British man was overtaken with Olympic fever while at the beach in Biarritz, France. He told his friends that he was going to swim across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City to show his excitement for the games. His friends knew he was a strong swimmer, so they let him jump in the water thinking he was joking and would turn around soon enough. Before long, the man was out of sight.
This man’s ambitious goal was soon interrupted by a rescue helicopter. A diver jumped down, swam over to the man, and reminded him that the distance from Biarritz to New York City was 3,595 miles. Despite the warning, the man boasted of his awesome aquatic skills and kept on swimming. As a point of comparison, the average Olympic swimmer swims at about 5 mph (and they are swimming as hard as they can by the way). Swimming 3,595 miles at an incredible 5 mph would still take 30 days! Thankfully, the man eventually came to his senses and was rescued.
This man reminded me of the examples Jesus gave in Luke 14:27-32. Jesus speaks of a man who tries to build a tower without calculating if he can afford it and of the king who takes his army into battle without considering if he can win. Scripture consistently encourages us to think before we speak or act (Proverbs 3:5-6; 11:14; 15:22; etc). Of all the advice given, some of the best is stated in Proverbs 16:1-3, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives. Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.”
It can be hard to remember to make good decisions, especially when that Olympic fever comes. So, here is a little tip to guide us in making better decisions. I call it the 3 P’s of good decisions: (1) Pray, (2) Ponder, and (3) Prepare. Following these 3 easy steps can be the difference between a making bad decision and following God’s plan for you. So, next time we feel like swimming across the Atlantic, changing jobs, moving, or even a small decision, let’s remember the 3 P’s of good decisions.