For Olympic champion, luster of awards give way to genuine purpose

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is considerably younger than Forward From 50’s traditional audience. However, his recent actions convey a strong message to people of all ages.

Ryan, the second-most decorated U.S. swimmer behind Michael Phelps, is putting all six of his Olympic silver and gold medals — as well as a 14-karat white gold Olympic ring and a Breitling watch with black diamonds — up for auction. He hopes to raise a lot of money for the Jorge Nation Foundation, which sends terminally ill Florida children and their families on a dream trip of their choosing, Daily Wire reported.

“I’m not one to be all sentimental about medals,” Ryan, 37, told The Associated Press. “My medals are just sitting in my closet collecting dust. The memories that I have is what means the most.”

Ryan’s decision reminds me of a lesson Jesus delivered during his famous Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 6:19-20. Jesus said:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

His decision is similar to one Ryan made years ago when he donated all 27 gold, silver and bronze medals he earned competing in the World Championships to young swimmers. He did it to encourage them to do their best in pursuing their dreams.

“This year I really wanted to focus on giving back. I’m loving it,” Ryan explained. “Those medals mean a lot to me; I worked my [rear] off for them. But helping other people out is more important to me, especially because I have kids of my own.”

For now, Ryan is retaining his six gold medals, but hinted even some of them may be donated to support his favorite cause.

Genuine purpose realigns your priorities around helping others. For Ryan Lochte, his heart clearly treasures sick kids far more than the accolades his accomplishments earned for him in the past.

You can read the full story about Ryan’s decision to sell his medals to make the dreams of children come true by visiting