Something unprecedented happened recently at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York, and it had nothing to do with the record setting history everyone expected. Isn’t that life? It’s predictably unpredictable.
Everyone and their mama had Serena Williams not only competing in the finals, but winning it, to complete a calendar Grand Slam and become the first man or woman to accomplish that feat since Steffi Graff in 1988. Only none of that happened. Instead, Serena lost her semi-final match to an Italian woman named Roberta Vinci, who in turn lost an all Italian final to her childhood friend and teenage roommate, Flavia Pennetta. That all Italian final was a first as well, but it still isn’t the unprecedented moment I have in mind.
As the tennis world was still reeling from the shock of Serena’s loss, the eventual winner stood atop the tennis mountain holding her very first Grand Slam trophy and calmly announced that she was retiring from the game. Talk about going out on top!
I find it fascinating that Pennetta could walk away after the biggest victory of her career. It’s extremely rare for a world class athlete to reach the top and step aside all in one fell swoop but it sounds like Pennetta has a life outside of the game and other dreams she is ready to pursue. For those reasons I found her decision highly commendable.
Retirement can be a wise move and it can be the worst decision of our lives. And I’m no longer talking tennis. I’m thinking of people who appear to retire from life while they’re still among the living. To be even more specific, I’m thinking of believers who rest on their laurels– their exciting conversion experiences– and live hearkening back to that big moment, instead of pressing on to know Him more deeply. Retiring from the adventure of following Christ is not only unbiblical, it’s tragic. Press in and fight on, my friends. He is life and He makes life worth living.