Monday, July 30, 2012
The Eternal Olympics
The Eternal Olympics!
Have you been watching the Olympics? I always watch bits and pieces. You know, selected events that I enjoy. I saw some of the opening ceremony the other night. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of all that hoopla, turning something that is supposed to be a special event about supposedly amateur competitions between athletes, not a venue for entertainers and producers. So for me, the highlight that night was the parade of nations, where the competing athletes proudly walk sporting their national costume and flags. I am always especially impressed by those countries that can only send 3 or 4 to the competition…..and there were several of those this year. Anyway, I guess other folks think all the other fanfare is important, too……just not to me.
So during one of the swimming events, there was a commercial (I don’t recall who, but think it was Citi) in which all these individuals are talking about all the things they DIDN’T do over the last year. One says he missed the hit movie, another hasn’t read the latest best seller, another hadn’t ordered dessert for a year….that sort of thing. And, of course, all of them have one thing in common: they were working instead to get ready to be able to compete in the Olympic games. Kind of a cool commercial, I thought.
But there is one Bible verse that I always think of at times like this. It is found in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Paul, too, was familiar with athletic competitions……there were hippodromes and stadiums and coliseums all dedicated to athletic competitions during Paul’s day, and he uses that familiarity in this passage. He tells us that all these athletes (like these we see today) work hard to discipline themselves and prepare themselves for the day of competition. The same thing the commercial explains….the discipline of leaving some things aside in order to be able to focus on the goal of winning the prize…..today, a gold medal, in Paul’s day, a laurel perhaps. In fact, Paul points out they are seeking the prize, and prepare accordingly. But then, he goes on to point out that the prize they are seeking is perishable, but as Christians, we are pursuing an eternal prize. He ends with the challenge to make sure we are as disciplined in our pursuit of the eternal prize as those athletes are in their preparation for their events.
So what is YOUR answer? Think about those athletes in the commercial, and all the things they gave up to focus on Olympic preparation. Do you approach your Christian faith with the same dedication and effort? I wonder about this a lot as I pass health clubs and see people working out to build their bodies, or observe them out walking and jogging for the same purpose….but don’t see them taking the same kind of disciplined care of their souls in church or scripture. I wonder what the churches in our country would be like if those attending put in the same kind of discipline and effort into the spiritual lives and ministries as the Olympic athletes do for their big events. Or, more to a point, how would YOUR life, or MINE, be different if either of us put forth that discipline and effort? How about finding out? Don’t just go for the gold….it is destined to perish…..go for that eternal crown in glory!
TL:dr The Olympic athletes set a great example and challenge for we Christians in our pursuit of spiritual greatness.