Most of the world knows who Lance Armstrong is, but how
many people have ever heard of Pavel Padrnos. Well, if
you are an avid Cycling enthusiast you might know who Pavel Padrnos
is, he finished in 102nd place, 3:05:34 behind Lance Armstrong.
Certainly just finishing this 2,000 mile trek across France is
quite an accomplishment, but Pavel played another important role
in the Tour de France. Pavel along with Manuel Beltran
(14th), Rubiera Jose Luis (19th), Roberto Heras
(34th), George Hincapie (47th), Vjatceslav Ekimov
(76th), Floyd Landis (77th), and Pena Victor Hugo
(88th) were all part of the U.S. Postal Service team that helped
Lance win the Tour de France and finished 4th overall in the team
The team was a critical part of Lance's
victory. Between his struggles with stomach viruses, falls and
a fierce field of competitors, Armstrong was fortunate to be surrounded
by eight men who sacrificed individual glory for their team mate.
These eight men played an important role in Lance Armstrong's
fifth Tour de France win. They were often used to set the
pace, or to put pressure on other top competitor's to tire them,
or provide a wind break for Armstrong early in each stage to allow
him to conserve valuable energy. Armstrong won because eight other
men, coaches, trainer's and medical staff all did their part and
contributed at the appropriate time.
When I close my eyes and dream I
want to be a Lance Armstrong. The leader, the ironman who over
came every obstacle to battle back from cancer, to get up after
he has fallen down, to fight through sickness and adversity to
be #1. The reality is that I have a much better shot a being a
Pavel Padrnos, a member of the supporting cast.
Jesus reminded us in Matthew 23:11,
"but he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."
My role as a child of God is to serve the greater good. I, like
James and John can long to sit on the right or left hand of Jesus,
or I can model my life after Barnabas looking for opportunities
to be the quiet encourager.
God has called us to bring glory and honor to His son and to His
church (Matthew 5:16). Paul so lived that Christ would get the
glory. "According to my earnest expectation and my hope,
that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness,
as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether
it be by life, or by death" (Philippians 1:20).
Many of my heroes of faith
are not listed in Hebrews 11. They are elders in the Lord's church,
retiree's who serve quietly and humbly without recognition, they
are teenagers who have not bowed their knees to the gods of immorality
and substance abuse. They are the Pavel Padrnos of the world,
willing to accept their roles so that others might ride on to
victory and receive that "inheritance incorruptible, and
undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you"
(I Peter 1:4).