“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run,
but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
They do it to get a crown that will not last,
but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
It is the time of the Summer Olympics 2012, in London, England. There is so much excitement in the air! TV stations world wide are following the tremendous exploits of the world’s best trained young athletes. I have only taken a few minutes on a couple of occasions thus far to watch the excitement. There is something electric about the atmosphere as the finals are run.
As records are broken, the medals passed out after the winner’s national anthem is played, the proudest parents in attendance may well be people who were in the Olympics themselves a generation ago battling for gold.
It is such an incredible spectacle to see the culmination of years of devotion to training, such personal sacrifice and intensity of effort. Those who participate and the families and friends behind them deserve their day in the sun. In the years to come we trust that the athletes competitive spirit and desire for excellence will take them to great heights of achievement in their chosen fields of endeavor.
Yet, we all realize that the Olympics are not the end of the world. The athletes will not retire and live off their earning from the Olympics. They must now commence the hard work of focussing on a life time work to fulfill their new dreams.
Many biblical scholars think that the apostle Paul had some really strong personal interest in the Olympic Games of his time. He makes several references to athletic competition as he teaches us about the Christian faith journey.
As believers we are to strive for the focus and intensity of an athlete training for the race of his life. We need to eliminate anything that detracts us from wholehearted determination to be excellent, to do our best for the Lord.
We know that we shall never earn the love and grace of the Lord by any extreme effort. Our relationship with our Creator is a gift and not wages. We strive to be pleasing to the Lord as a result of already being forgiven and not in order to acquire forgiveness. The intensity with which we live the Christian life is an expression of how much we value our Christianity.
If you are weary and worn out with the daily battle of life, consider that while you still have some way to go there are all the resources of heaven at your disposal. As you intensify your efforts, the Lord shall supply all you need to finish the race well and to God’s glory. God is at work in you. The good work He has begun He shall continue to the finish.